Tuneful. Inventive. Clever. Youthful. Creative. Upbeat. Humorous. All these labels and more apply to the Belle Brigade's appearance at McCabe's last night. Their excellent self-penned songs and harmonious vocals amounted to a very pleasant evening of mostly unknown, but decidedly accessible, material. In spite of the shortness of their set, only 55 minutes, we all went home happy, without feeling shortchanged. There were plenty of uptempo songs, and the slower ones were no sleepers.
Throughout the show I missed the presence of a drummer and so did the band, as they had some trouble starting songs in unison. But such occurrences were handled with humor and were no big deal.
Siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska, who are the Belle Brigade, happen to be the grandchildren of the legendary composer and conductor John Williams. In their case, the apple did not fall far from the tree - Barbara and Ethan have lots of talent and I'm sure they'll be heard from again and again.
|The Belle Brigade at McCabe's|
|The set list (May 20, 2011)|
Opening act Obi Best, essentially singer and pianist Alex Lilly, helped out by keyboardist Aaron Arntz and bassist Bram Inscore, was OK, but not sensational. Alex Lilly has a great voice and is quite comfortable on stage, but her melodic sense and mine don't jibe.
|Signs in the window at McCabe's|