Peach with Ellen the Felon and Bruiser Queen at The Heavy Anchor, August 30, 2011
On August 20, 2011, local rock/trash pop band Peach held their CD release party at The Heavy Anchor in St. Louis, MO.
To open the evening was local gypsy jazz artist Ellen The Felon and The Mattranome. Ellen The Felon perhaps is best known for performances at the 2010 Dresden Dolls and 2011 Ben Folds Five after-show concerts at Halo Bar, weekly open mic performances at The Venice Café and Foam Coffee and Beer, as well as a recent performance during June’s Jam for Joplin event at Kiener Plaza. Before this night, I had actually met Ellen The Felon, A.K.A Ellen Cook, previously during a spring event at The Crack Fox. She actually introduced herself to me as Ellen The Felon! Bewildered by the introduction, I figured this gal must just be eccentric, and her and her friends must have just came up with a catchy nickname. Almost two months later, I heard raves about a performer at Jam for Joplin named Ellen The Felon. Apparently, I had been missing out on one of St. Louis’s biggest secrets!
From the first strike of the piano, I was still uncertain what to expect from Ellen The Felon and The Mattranome. Ellen’s sound had this jazzy piano bar feel to it that is reminiscent of the 1930 era’s movies. It was a sound you would expect to hear during the soundtrack to one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as Captain Jack Sparrow walks the plank. It almost sounded whimsical. And then she began to sing with her beautiful but soulful voice. The sound had a charmingly quirky vibe to it that made it difficult to resist. Singing her original songs “Bang Bang Bang”, “Mac Truck”, “Oh Timothy”, “Where The Heart Is”, and “Cross Marketing”, I quickly learned that I had peeked at Medusa and now she had just turned me into stone! Really, she was that captivating as she would sing her meaningful songs that expressed her point of views and past experiences.
Throughout the set, the room slowly started to fill as individuals began line up shoulder to shoulder to witness this masterful performance by Ellen The Felon and The Mattranome. At performance end, most individuals could be seen raving to Ellen about how much they enjoyed the show. On this night, the band clearly highlighted that St. Louis truly does have some amazingly talented musicians. The sky is the limit for this local duo!
Following Ellen The Felon to the stage was St. Louis based scuzz/chunk rock band Bruiser Queen. Moving the night in a more upbeat direction, the band brought an in-your-face feel to The Heavy Anchor. With vocalist/guitarist Morgan Nusbaum shredding away on her guitar and Jason Potter providing a solid foundation on the drums, the band’s sound could best be described Courtney Love mixed with punk rock. In many ways the band is reminiscent of local musicians Sleepy Kitty (who also were on hand this night). Singing songs such as “Hooked”, “Wastoid” and “Skuzz Chunk”, the band had the audience gleefully bobbing their heads along to the music. At set’s end, it was clear that Bruiser Queen was another solid act had just made a few new fans.
You Are My Only
Kiss Me In My Dreams
Shy Town Hex
To end the night was local rock/trash-pop favorite Peach. Performing to promote the release of their album Far From The Tree, Peach had been heavily promoting the event since early summer. The band even went as far as to provide free beer to those who purchased a CD. Without hesitation, fans swooped up their newest release and the free PBR.
Peach consists of vocalist/guitarist Melissa Roberts, bassist Alex Powers, drummer Mark Easley, and on this night, guest guitarist Scott Summers. Performing on a generally dimly red lit stage that was occasionally highlighted by flashes of yellow and white lighting, the band stuck to a set list consisting mostly of their new material. Peach is known for having a sound that has catchy rhythms and big vocals with a twist of southern soul tossed in for good measure. It is a sound that creates a very relaxed vibe that melded perfectly with a carefree evening and free booze.
Performance-wise, the band sounded identical to their new recording as they jammed energetically on the cramped South City stage to a packed house. Throughout the set, the audience could be seen soaking in and dancing along to the melodies “Itty Bitty City Committee”, The Devil Is a Man With a Mirror”, “Lo-lust”, “I Exist”, and “T-Minus”. Overall, Peach’s set was worth the couple of months long wait. It was one of those great performances that fond summer memories are made of!
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