Chicago,IL • Nov 18th
It was a mismatch from the start. And really, a lot like when someone uses your own hand to slap you in the face. Patrice Pike didn’t really need to go on “Rock Star Supernova” to further her career and she’s selling herself short when she called herself a “supernova” on her Rock Star daily blog. Her career doesn’t match the “rare celestial phenomenon that explodes and fades quickly away” description. Maybe her brief time on the show and some of the other contestants, and hosts, fit the description, especially the winner. Having only heard her on record, I was curious to see why Tommy Lee and his panel didn’t choose her.
Regarding backstory, Pike’s a singer/songwriter who has been writing and performing music since she was fifteen. For the last several years she’s been paying her dues in successful under the radar bands (Sister 7, Black Box Rebellion), recorded three solid solo albums and released her fourth, Unraveling, back in October, mostly done before “Rock Star” began.
Patrice is no stranger to career adversity either. Her band Sister 7 nearly inked a deal with Arista in 2000 when Clive Davis heard a demo, but recording plans fell through when Davis was axed in a label shake-up. Sister 7 disbanded shortly after and she formed Black Box Rebellion and then eventually went solo.
So fast-forward to summer 2006. Pike’s career story is somewhat similar to a handful of “Rock Star'”s contestants but her genuine character and accomplished background as singer/songwriter was rare among contestants. Obviously, Tommy Lee was looking for a little less substance.
Amidst Kinetic Playground’s vintage 60’s psychedelic aura, Pike was the epitome of the club’s namesake, as she was during her “Rock Star” performances. But what prime time viewers missed was witnessing her perform in true form, with her band and singing her own songs.
She opened with the heart-piercing and somewhat “Rock Star” autobiographical album title track “Unraveling.” Backed by an equally gifted quartet she crooned through a long set of songs that were part soul, part funk and all rock, tossing in a few slow-burn ballads to keep you guessing. Each player grooved, feeding of Pike and her longtime friend/bandmate/guitarist Wayne Sutton. A quintet of euphoric faces saturated in melodic mid-note ecstasy.
After a few songs, she released a wry smile, glanced back at her band then back at the gathered and said, “This ain’t no TV show… and you know what I mean…” It was good to see her agree with her fans and admit the truth. She didn’t need the bloated publicity.
Not even stopping for the obligatory and trite “thank you, this is our last song” banter, Pike wasted no time blazing an exit trail via the celebratory pop gem and her only “Rock Star” original number, “Beautiful Thing.”
The crowd size was surprisingly thin given all the national exposure. In Austin, TX, Pike’s stomping ground, she packs the house. If her plan was to expose her music to a wider audience it didn’t really work. Maybe try a Jay-Z Hangar tour, which landed and took off two hours prior across the street at the Riviera Theatre.
Opening was Chicago singer/songwriter and past Pike bill-mate Tristen. She leans heavy on self-effacing albeit humorous crowd play to deliver her piano-anchored heartache and day-job slave ballads. With a sarcastic but equally candid sigh she said, “I could imagine Kelly Clarkson liking this song, I don’t really like it, but if she would buy it that would be great.”
That being said, it’s a shame to see two talented artists depend so heavily on some lame prime time ratings booster gimmick for a national audience to take notice. More importantly what does it say about the state of the music industry when artists have to subject themselves to this? And what about the audience? Well, we all know shows like Supernova wouldn’t keep getting made if people didn’t watch them.