with Danielson and the Fly Seville
The Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA • April 22, 1999
Strange as it was, this showcase was booked in the smaller of the two rooms at the Middle East. However, I guess the club knew something, because there were not too many people there when the evening got off to a start. Local pop rockers the Fly Seville began the evening with about a crowd of fifty. TFS just moved to Boston about a year ago, and have been a juggernaut in the local scene with their debut record, Carousel , ever since; they even forgot about doing a release party.
TFS is lead by Jesse Blatz on guitar and vocals, Colin Rhinesmith on bass and vocals (ex-Godrays), Stacy Joy with keyboards and violin, and Randy Noonan behind the drums. Their sound is very fresh and true. Jesse’s voice is beautiful, singing of innocent situations, while Colin’s bass seems to dance around the monophonic melodies Stacy creates. They are all very passionate on stage. It is obvious they believe in their music. Fans of Superheros, Silver Scooter, or Matthew Sweet may be interested in their “Taj Mahal” of sound.
Second up, Danielson — also true believers in their sound. Or at least they must be, because I don’t know what else would motivate them to tour with a life size replica of a tree! Yes, husband and wife Daniel and Elin Smith decided to build a 10 foot (estimated) high tree for Daniel to stand inside while they play their Muppet-like acoustic pop tunes of the more beautiful things in life. Daniel’s voice reminds me of something you would hear on The Little Rascals ; it sometimes can get higher, in tone, than Elin’s natural soprano voice. It is quite amazing! However, depending on your mood, it can grow to be quite annoying. I had the luxury of seeing them the night after in New London, CT, and I must say, I truly enjoyed that performance much more, because I was in a more playful mood. So, keep this in mind when doing research on Danielson.
Unfortunately, not everyone was wanting to hear such childish screams and the crowd began to dwindle out. Either that or the Fly Seville really do have a hold on a select few in the local scene, which is quite possible, now that I mention it. Anyhow, I was really expecting to see more people fill in than leave! This was a pleasant line-up of new music that is being talked about a lot…so where was everyone?
Well, those of us there were very happy to get to hear the great Edith Frost sing her blue melodies of heartbreak. She had with her Amy Dominges (of Tsunami and Telegraph Melts) playing cello, while Edith played her baby blue Stratocaster that I fell in love with the first time I saw her, in New York last year. Edith had a full band with her then, so I was looking forward to this show and its stripped-down nature. Her first album, Calling Over Time resembles this line-up, while Telescopic , her second, brings in more instruments at a louder volume.
As sad as Edith may seem in her music, she is actually a very happy going person to meet with. She is extremely grateful to all of her fans that support her. She is the kind of artist that actually runs her own Web site and returns e-mail to everyone who writes, although she said it sometimes may take a few months because of all the traveling and playing she does.
This show consisted of a little bit of everything when it came to the song list. She played “Follow” and “Calling Over Time” from Calling Over Time , and “You Belong to No One” and “Bluish Bells” from Telescopic , not to mention some new tracks that are due to be released on a single. Edith’s Patsy Cline-ish way of writing has a way of working into everyone’s heart. It does not matter what song she plays; she is still crying out and you are still listening, imagining what she went through to have such feelings.
All in all, it was a hell of a show! I am just sorry more people did not make it out. I would like to see the Fly Seville develop more of a local following, which I am sure they will. They are a good band that have a sound that I can see having a general appeal to the masses. And Edith, well, I think anyone who has ever been in love needs to hear what Edith has to say, because it will make you question everything you have ever done.