September 18, 2016

Concert #783 - Leftover Cuties - "Full Moon Saturdays at Stonywood" Concerts Series in Pasadena (September 10, 2016)


This was my second time to see the Leftover Cuties in action and also my second time to attend a concert in Garth and Trisha's gorgeous backyard in Pasadena. Before I even mention the concert, I must give tons of credit to the hosts, who - as an expression of their love of music, as well as their desire to support deserving musicians - have opened their house to folks they don't even know. Garth shared with me an interesting tidbit: a typical concert in their backyard draws around fifty to sixty people, while the highest attendance ever was eighty-three.

Garth & Trisha's backyard in Pasadena
Garth opening the proceedings
 For unknown reasons, the band's regular bassist, the supremely intense Austin Nicholsen, was not there. His place was taken by the far more reserved, but equally competent Ryan Feves, who I believe was the band's original bass player.   
Band line-up
Shirli McAllen (vocals, ukulele)
Mike Bolger (keyboards, trumpet, accordion, helicon)
Stuart Johnson (drums, percussion, funny sounds)
Ryan Feves (upright bass)

The Leftover Cuties in Pasadena
What made me want to attend the concert was Shirli's voice and singing style. I don't know whether most folks would agree with me, but every time I hear Shirli sing, Madeleine Peyroux invariably comes to mind. Not that their voices or vocal techniques are alike, but both Shirli and Madeleine grab me not with devilish rhythms and stage acrobatics, but with a phrasing and delivery style that is uniquely theirs and only theirs. 

Shirli McAllen in Pasadena
As expected, the band's set list included a healthy mix of songs written by Shirli and quite a few covers. Cole Porter's "Let's Misbehave", the classic "You Are My Sunshine", Billie Holiday's "All Of Me" and Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" all sounded great. 

Yes, Shirli can sing, but as a songwriter she is no slouch, either. With numbers such as "Sunnyside", "If You Want The Rainbow" and especially "Clarity", I strongly believe that she deserves a much larger audience.

Shirli McAllen in Pasadena
As good as Shirli McAllen is, the Leftover Cuties wouldn't be what they are without the combined talents of Mike Bolger, Stuart Johnson and Ryan Feves. Switching with ease from instrument to instrument, Mike's musical accompaniment was quite a bit richer that most anything you will ever hear. Adding an endless array of bells, whistles and other funny sounds to his drum playing, the utterly humorous Stuart was an important contributor to the success of the show.

Mike Bolger in Pasadena
Stuart Johnson in Pasadena
Shirli McAllen& Ryan Feves in Pasadena
I went to the concert with My Better Half and two good friends, Deborah and Joe. We all had a heck of a good time and we all hope to be back real soon in Garth and Trisha's hospitable backyard.

The set list

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