Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wakey!Wakey!, Casey Shea @ Pianos | Cross-Pollination

[Update: I wrote something much more intelligent (at least I think) on CMJ's blog. You can read that here, if you'd like.]

I have to make this quick or else I'll be late to work. I had all intentions of writing this post last night when I got home but as soon as I walked in the door and saw my bed, the rest is history. The sad part is this was all before midnight, but I kind of like my life as an 80-year-old woman these days.

So last night was a night I had been looking forward to ever since Wes informed me this would be going down. I even bought my ticket months ahead of time and had it sitting in my kitchen. Every day I would look at it with excitement, all but yesterday, of course, when I needed it. Funny how things work like that. What I love about Cross-Pollination is that it's like it's own little world where rockstars rule and all the rest of us are there to obey. We come every single week because we don't have a choice. And I swear once I enter the world of Cross-Pollination, it's as though nothing else exists. I don't know where I was really going with this, but just bear with me.

The point is, last night seeing Wakey!Wakey! and Casey Shea, I felt as though I was seeing two of the biggest stars of my life. Not only do I have a deep infatuation with both of these musicians, but there was a distinct energy in the air that couldn't ever be replicated. It was the first time Wakey!Wakey! was playing with a full band, and my god what an amazing experience to see first hand. The piano player better known as Mike Grubbs added not just a couple musicians to the stage, but at times eight people accompanied him! He had a complete string section that was absolutely beautiful, and the most unassuming accordion player at one point. The songs that I had already grown to love were completely fleshed out and brought to a new level by the addition of the rest of the band. It was, hands down, one of the best sets I had seen in a very long time. I almost forgot how good it felt to see one of those kinds of shows, where you are pleasantly shocked from start to end. But that's just what Cross-Pol does to you, right?

Since it was being recorded for a special album release (more on that later), the show was downstairs but also a bit rushed. Casey Shea, also known for his relentless performances fronting my favorites, The Undisputed Heavyweights, was up next. I had seen Casey play solo, or with Jeff Jacobson (also of the Heavyweights) but never with a full-band. Like the true chameleon Shea is, I swear he could do nothing wrong. Last night we were privileged to see a rocking country fueled performance, as if John Lennon were still alive today and collaborated with Ryan Adams. I kid you not. His newest song was even a bit more experimental, the kind all you hipster indie kids would totally dig. Casey is a singer that's voice transcends any genre that tries to box him in. And you know, if you have ever seen this guy perform, that he will never, ever, be boxed in.

Like every Tuesday, the time came for the boys to play some songs together. Their voices were almost made for each other, with Wakey!Wakey!'s wailing a solid match to Casey's melodic rasp. They each played one of each other’s songs, and then the time came for something completely different. I knew these two had to have something bizarre up their sleeves, but never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate what came next.... yes, you never guessed it: Dick In A Box.

Holy crap.

Go see both of these performers before I hit you over the head. That is a public service announcement from the one and only Underrated.


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