Last night The Listening Room, though dimly lit for the show, was lit like a fireworks expo on the fourth of July. It was as full as I have ever seen it with no space remaining; even the standing room was filled. It was as SOLD OUT as any venue could be!
There was something about it that made you happy you showed up. The room was ALIVE, the atmosphere seemed to be electrified.
The cause of the extreme excitement was “Abe Partridge and the Psychedelic Peacocks”. Just that name paints a colorful picture of a place full of birds all ready to sing for us. (some of the birds were psychedelic, which added to the excitement and levity in that room).
The entertainment was fed to the hungry crowd in 3 phases (like a 3 course meal). Phase one was the opening act DELLA MEMORIA. This started with a fabulously beautiful lady named Emily Sholes Smith. Multi-talented, she plays the guitar and the keyboard and has the voice every female singer dreams of. Emily wore an intriguing outfit that consisted of a black top and black shorts with an overlaying white lace floor-length jacket that attached loosely in front, leaving a peaking view from her waist to her toes. (She has a perfect figure, even though she has a 9 month old daughter). The lace was intricate and included a mix of patterns that drew your eyes to it. She was perfect and her music matched her.
Emily uses an echoing or repeating effect on her vocals and the outcome is amazing. It enables the singer to capture the audience and mesmerize them with only one voice…one voice that is joining itself multiple times and filling up all of the space in the room. It was genius!
So we had a drop-dead gorgeous creature who oozed talent from every pore.
She played a beautiful song she had written for her baby, it gave me goose-bumps. Her next song was not introduced or possibly I missed the introduction; I loved the repeated line in it “I work hard all day and give ya honey every night”…that sounds like a great recipe for a happy relationship.
She went on to play “Powdered Sugar” and soon her husband Josh joined her on the stage with his bass. They played “Together”. This was a beautiful song…”how far will it go”…”I will wait for you”…these words stuck with me.
There were times I believe she had a repeating effect or enhancing effect on her guitar as well. Whatever she had…I liked it! When her husband Josh Smith joined her on the stage, she switched from guitar to keyboard and he played bass. It was bass like I had not heard before. Josh also used effects of some kind that made his bass have a haunting, penetrating outcome that was undeniably great. I found myself wanting him to sing, but he did not.
I have a new favorite Della Memoria, you are something special for sure!
Phase 1 ended and Phase 2 began when Abe joined Della Memoria and they sang several songs together. Cotton Fields and Blood for Days was the first…”It ain’t hard to find the devil in this town”, those are the haunting words of this song. Then one of my very favorite Abe songs, “Our Love Ain’t Black and White”. I really think that is true of all love if you really think about it. Love can be complicated.
A line that stuck with me in the next song was “When I was young before the coffee stained my teeth”…a line ya just don’t hear that often.
Abe dismissed Della Memoria and sang several songs alone. Another of my favorites came up then, “An undisclosed location in Southeast Asia” about the time he spent in the war. I can see him standing there in the arabian sun, sand hitting him and his clinched teeth. The song paints a painful picture for me.
(The love of my life was killed in the Vietnam War when we were only 19. I still cling to a shoe box full of his letters from the battlefield more than 50 years ago and it hurts too bad to read them anymore.) I know personally that war is pure hell and this song resonates with me.
Between the phases, Abe threw in a surprise. He said he has a project called Alabama Astronauts. He began this half talking, half singing soliloquy of sorts that put me in a trance. He started with “I been waiting on them aliens to come”…speaking from the trailer park in Alabama he told the adventures of the aliens coming down and beaming up his neighbor who had her hair in curlers and the look of surprise on her face. He loaded up his treasure trove of guns and ammo to defeat these aliens….it was a crazy, ranting but yet sheer genius story! He compared his adventure to a “White trash Louis and Clarke expedition”. I absolutely loved this!
After a couple of the Alabama Astronauts songs, Abe beckoned Drew Nix and Laurie Anne Armour to join him (two of the best young musicians in our town). They backed him up on his song about the IRS and Willie Nelson…”The IRS can take yer money but they can’t take yer soul”…
Phase 3 was Abe Partridge and The Psychedelic Peacocks finale of the show. Abe Partridge- lead vocals and acoustic guitar. David Garrett-lead guitar, Andrew Bishop-Bass and the coolest drummer EVER- John Hall!
It was hard rock, head banging, balls to the walls kind of music. I am always down for that! I loved it. My very favorite part was watching the magnificent drummer. He wore only overalls, no shirt, had his hair pulled back in a ponytail and he was ready for some serious business the minute his fanny hit the seat behind those drums. He jumped head first into those drums and never looked back. I could tell he is an “ALL IN” kind of guy! He put his whole heart into his performance and it showed.
In addition to the stage action, there were things going on off the stage as well. There was Robby Amonette painting not one but two pictures of the show. Both were magnificent! Then against the wall near the stage was a projector with a show of its own. I spoke to the person who was creating that, his name is Justin Gipson. Justin’s expertise is creating a liquid light show. I watched as he used eye-dropper type instruments to drop oils of different colors on a glass; then it was projected onto the walls and ceiling. The shapes were psychedelic and strangely majestic as they found their way to all of the walls at the back of the room. This was my first Liquid Light Show!
It was a night of partridges and peacocks, a night of unique light shows, of original art and of not only electrifying entertainment but an electrifying audience that was packed in like sardines to be a part of it.
I feel so fortunate to have been there.
Thank you Della Memoria for being so beautiful inside and out, and so talented.
Thank you to all who were a part of this magnificent show.
Thank you to that fabulous drummer who stole my heart (John Hall)
Thank you to Catherine Partridge who holds it all together and gets it done!
Thank you to the genius that is called Abe Partridge, my friend
Thank you to Jim Pennington and The Listening Room for blowing my mind
Music Mom (pictured below is Emily Sholes Smith-Della Memoria)