David Andrews performed with his band at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Though the concert seemed last minute, with around twenty audience members and no apparent advertising, Andrews and his band performed well, especially considering the eleventh hour addition of their new drummer, Dijulio. According to Andrews, his old drummer was forced to join another band at gunpoint. Andrews said he was bummed, but what could he do? In the game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” gun; trumps all. The old drummer had an offer he couldn’t refuse. New drummer Dijulio’s playing was one of the finer points of the evening’s performance, so Andrews need not worry. Ted Kamp played a mean guitar, but the talented Chris Murphy needs to tune his electric violin as he had a few musical missteps. Michelle Van Cleef supplied her lovely voice to accentuate David’s lead vocals. David switched instruments through the hour as he introduced songs, sharing a sentence or two about what inspired him to write each one. Mr. Andrew’s skill is beyond question. His performance is fine tuned. He has a pleasing voice that is a reminiscent blend of Bob Seeger and Bob Dylan with a Jackson Browne foam. Though his tunes are not uninspired, their inspiration lacks depth. Once while waiting at an airport he stared at a wool tapestry of birds for a long time. This inspired him to write his song “Stitched in Wool.” “Wedding Song”, “Eyes of Mine”, “2000 Miles Away”, “Take My Soul” were each prefaced by an equally banal tale. With such musical skill, too many simplistic songs became disappointing. The David Andrews Band has the potential for greatness, but their songs need more meat. Even the self explanatory “Wine and Sex Story” comes across as pedestrian in its winking edginess. Viewed as a band on the rise, (which they should be) David Andrews’ CD, “Get Me Out of This Place” is worth checking out. Though simple, there are no duds in the batch. Andrews himself is quite amiable. After the performance he made a point of thanking each attendee personally for coming out. It was then that he shared his drummer woes, and lamented the absence of good Oregon (his home state) beer. His smiling presence was a welcome shift from the 5 leather clad self important Knitting Factory thugs that cleared the room the minute Andrews finished playing. If he returns to Los Angeles, he deserves a friendlier venue and a bigger audience.
NEWPORT BEACH READING
Newport Beach Library
Fifth Annual Poetry Festival
April 30, 2001
Barbara deMarco Barrett, Carlye Archibeque, Amélie Frank, Victor D. Infante, Elaine Kelly, Sue Cronmiller, Jonathan Farmer, Gordon
McAlpine”What does poetry reveal or conceal about freedom?”
I had the honor of being asked to read at the Fifth Annual Newport Beach Poetry Festival in April. The theme of this year’s closing reading at the Newport Beach Library in honor of National Poetry Month asked the readers to find a few poems by poets they admired that best embodied their idea of freedom. It was gratifying in an unusual way to be asked to read favorite poets, and it was also a bit of a relief not to have to decide which of my own poems to read.
There was a fine collection of readers and poems. Amélie Frank and I drove up from Los Angeles to represent the smoggy city of verse, Victor Infante did his part for the wild poets of OC and we were joined by two graduate students, Sue Cronmiller & Jonathan Farmer, a creative writing teacher from Chapman University, Gordon McAlpine, and Barbara deMarco Barrett, host of KUCI’s “Writers on Writing.”
The poems were all good, with cats taking the lead as a metaphor for freedom with Ms. Frank doing a spectacular rendition of Blake’s “Tyger,” I did Hughes’s “The Jaguar,” and McAlpine weighed in with Rilke’s “The Panther.”
The reading was great from a readers standpoint, good, full audience, free water and corsages for the poets. Afterward, there was a pizza party for the poets to unwind and get to know each other I felt like I had been transported to a fabulous world where poetry mattered and poets were valuable.