Thursday, June 7, 2012

Skye Paige makes the best of a slow evening at Mad River

Big rock riff and small crowds at Piccolo's Blues at Mad River series

Posted by T. Ballard Lesemann on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Skye Paige and Ian Dunning Brown at Mad River, 2012
Charleston singer/guitarist Skye Paige, has a knack for playing things sassy, no matter the setting. Whether as solo act or with backing from her rockin’ band the Original Recipe, she consistently delivers a cool mix of electric blues, ’50s rock, classic country, and upbeat rockabilly. Her stylish rock shows go even better when she’s dolled up like brunette pinup from yesteryear.

It’s too bad there weren’t more people in attendance when Paige performed at Mad River on Wednesday evening (June 6) as part of Piccolo Spoleto’s ongoing Blues & Jazz Series. There was a small crowd on hand — a few uninterested couples eating in the booths, a handful of lively music fans sitting along the bar, and series organizer Smoky Weiner’s pack of buddies at a table up front. Fortunately, Paige wasn’t fazed by the low turnout, and she played with the cheerful vigor she normally displays.

It was an odd set-up on stage, though. Her regular Original Recipe bandmates weren’t around, but drummer Ian Dunning Brown was sitting on an abbreviated three-piece kit with an oversized kick drum. A capable timekeeper with a nice, jazzy touch, Brown often jams with Paige during open nights at the Wolf Track Inn in West Ashley. Rhythmically, Paige and Brown clicked pretty well, but it sounded strange to have drums without any low-end support from a bassist or additional guitarist.

Paige and Brown played two full sets of rock ’n’ roll show, only some of which seemed particularly bluesy. They included a lot of fun songs from Paige’s 2010 album Whole Lotta Woman. The country-styled title track and the raunchy blues-rock of “Paint the Town Red” were highlights. The sparseness of the simple instrumentation allowed plenty of room for Paige’s sneering, gutsy slide work and distorted guitar tones to ring out nicely. Some of it resembled the swampy jams of the Flat Duo Jets and the White Stripes.

Andy Smoky Weiner at Mad River, 2012
The main room at Mad River can get a bit loud and boomy, almost to the point of distraction. The tall ceilings in the church-like room don’t make for the finest acoustics when it comes to loud, amplified music. Paige’s singing sounded muddy in the back of the room, but things were much more clean and clear closer to the stage. At times, it was almost too loud to order at the bar. As I was finished a pint of lager, I asked a bartender if they had any bitters available. He misheard me and said, “Any peppers?” I said, “No, do you have any bitters?” He said, “Oh, I’ll go get some from the back. He returned from the kitchen a moment later with a small plate of kosher dill chips. “Here are your pickles,” he said. Oh well.

The admission price might be a bit high for happy hour shows like this. I saw more than a few touristy types peek in, hear about the cover charge, and walk away. It’s one thing to ask $11 at the door for a well-established touring artist who rarely visits Charleston, but it’s pretty pricey for a local act that plays regularly for free around town. Piccolo’s Blues & Jazz Series offers a mix of local talent and out-of-town headliners. Local musician Andy “Smoky” Weiner’s efforts to book solid shows at Mad River for Piccolo festival deserve praise, for sure. But when a local artist who’s featured in the Piccolo lineup puts on their usual show — particularly a stripped-down version of their usual show — one might feel slightly overcharged.

There’s one more event Piccolo’s Blues at Mad River series. Momma and the Redemption Band are set to close things out this evening (June 7) at 6 p.m. Visit piccolospoleto.com for more.

Skye Paige and Ian Dunning Brown at Mad River, 2012

Tags: , , ,

Location

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Powered by Foundation   © Copyright 2016, Charleston City Paper   RSS