Written by Eddie Ferranti
Sep 21, 2007 at 08:00 PM
Image“A Fine Frenzy”, aka Alison Sudol, rolled into H-Town as part of the latest VH1 “You Oughta Know” Tour series opening for Brandi Carlile. The debut CD, “One Cell in the Sea” has been turning heads with comparisons to Tori Amos & Sarah McLachlan. Mighty fine company indeed. I thought I’d see what was up with this little lady, who’s very easy on the eyes to boot!

The set kicked off right on time (8:30pm) which was quite refreshing for the Meridian. The crowd was with her from thee opening bell. I found her to have a lovely spacey/mystical kind of quality to her tunes. Delicate and lingering. She held the crowd very well even though she was playing her piano. A big plus, which does not show up well on her CD, was she had 2 backing band mates with her, Stephen LeBlanc (keyboards) & Daxx Nielsen (drums/guitar). I thought she really did quite well when she got out from behind the piano and did her thing behind the mike.

“Come on Come Out” went over very well. This young thing has said her early influences while being raised in LA were Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John and Radiohead to name a few. It is nice to see such a wide variety of artists as an influence to me……..Other tunes that went over well were “Near to You”, Lifesize”, “Almost Lover” and “Think of You”. At one point the audience did a complete sing a long with her. This reviewer is not big on those for the most part, but in this case it was sweet.

For an artist that is just starting out, I thought that was very cool. In fact she gushed that the crowd “Had made my day, week and month for her!”. Amen young lady. Let’s hope she continues to grow her band and roots to the point that she can command an even larger sector of the music world.

ImageOn the other hand, Brandi Carlile came out and ROCKED the house for the most part! This lady kicked my ass from the start. I could not believe how much she reminded me of the first time I saw Sheryl Crow-all the way down to the “hippy chick” look and Converse tennis shoes. And beleive me that’s not a bad thing. “The Story”-the first CD from Brandi since Rolling Stone tabbed her as one of “10 Artists to Watch in 2005” was produced by Grammy award winner T Bone Burnett and recorded live to tape! Not a bad dude to hook up with.

Her touring band included Phil Hanseroth (bass) and Tim Hanseroth (guitar) along with drummer Matt Chamberlain and Josh Neumann (cello). Driven by Ms. Carlile’s charging vocals the show pulsed with raw road tested intensity. The Seattle influence where she hails from burns through in her live show. Her evolution from pleasant enough folk-rocker on her self titled debut album to now speaks to both Brandi’s talent and her drive to succeed. Highlights of the gig were “My Song”, “Losing Heart”, “Wasted”, “Turpentine” and “Late Morning Lullaby”.

For me, being the “youngster” I am, found her scorching hot version of Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water” very satifying.

Carlile has a future as big as she wants to make it…let’s hope she does well! For now, I’m out until next time…