Aftermath: Jessica Lea Mayfield at Walter's on Washington
Photos by Kim Douglass
After a long day of pretending to work hard and getting caught in multiple showers, there seemed like nothing better to do than seek shelter at a local watering hole and take pleasure in the coming weekend. Opening act M.A. Turner and R. Clint Colburn Cross brought back memories of high school, when a friend's band would decide to throw together a show really quickly, even though they weren't quite ready yet, and the result was pure disaster. A bassist played a jazz riff, the guitarist went pedal-crazy, and the drummer more or less sat in the back and made noise. Thursday, guitarist/singer Turner's from one chord progression to the next were smooth and nothing was lost. At times, it seemed like he decided to go on the lamb and just do his own thing, which the audience greatly appreciated. However, when playing with someone else that only seems to know the one drum beat, this could lead to a lot of problems.
If Colburn has played in front of crowds before, it didn't translate here. Seeming visibly frustrated at times, he played with no consistency. He did catch his sticks in the rim, lack a sense of speed and timing and play quickly one moment to catch up with Turner's guitar then suddenly slow down. This may have been on purpose, but it translated in a very jarring way. Next up were the Castanets, a group born of a particular music culture that can only go two ways: Either the show will be phenomenal or an utter failure. Such is the way of psychedelic folk. One moment there were coherent lyrics and drumbeats, then the next, it all disintegrated into obscure feedback and noise. Musically, each man onstage had talent, especially drummer Mickey Turner (also of Cross). His beats would come off softly, like jazz rhythms, one moment, then he'd turn up the volume and go straight into rock, both of which he played very well. Vocally, lead singer Raymond Raposa stood on stage with his cowboy hat and held his own.
Last up was headliner Jessica Lea Mayfield, a woman that seems so quiet and shy she might jump if her shadow catches up to her too quickly. Don't be fooled by this, though - her thought-provoking lyrics will bite you in the ass. When strapping a guitar around this young woman, there's no telling what will come of it. The power her vocals possess easily lulls are audience into a state of reflective hypnosis; things that have long been buried will rise to the surface once more when listening to this woman. With only a minimalist setup, brother David on two instruments both stand-up bass and drums, Mayfield acheived a lot musically during her time onstage. There were moments of rock and others of pure country. Blending the two genres together was the sad beauty in her lyrics, written so specifically that no one else could convey their emotion aside from her.
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