Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
2015 VOCAL March Showcase
Though delayed by a week due to the St. Patrick’s day celebration at O’Toole’s, the March showcase went on with the same line-up as advertised. Scheduled artists James Lester, Luke Rhodes and Steve Nuckolls took the mike and performed a great set of original material before a small but enthusiastic audience.
James Lester on electric/acoustic guitar always does a fine job of blues picking and songwriting.
His first tune was “Lady Bug” followed by “I like Your Love” a song about obsession with his woman’s affections, “Make My Day” tried to delineate the difference between love and lust with lust seeming to win out. Next up: “The Day After Valentine’s Day Blues” was a tribute to the singer’s lonely feelings because the holiday didn’t live up to expectations (no love). “Queen of Mystery” detailed the story of Lilith from Genesis with an air of the devil hanging over her, and James’s last song in his set was “Coatesville Blues” with the singer barely surviving existence on his own.
Luke Rhodes brings a new perspective to VOCAL. His genre of electronic indie pop is unique to the showcase. Armed with computer driven tracks, digital keyboard and a drummer (Justin Shaw) he launched into his set with “King Kong” a statement about not being chained down by societal expectations. “Special Someone” gave us a picture of a woman who used her wiles to devour lovers and them discard them like a “raggedy blanket”, but then tries to come back into their good graces. “Heavy Hitter” was full of descriptive material for a totally destructive almost sadistic relationship with such terms as “bleed me from a hole in my neck”, “you’re a train wreck” and “screaming sex”. Despite some cryptic lyrics “Great Explorer” follows the singer into the night looking to find meaning to life. Luke capped off his set with “Kneel To the Crown” detailing how religious experiences affected his life.
Featured performer of the evening was Steve Nuckolls who always entertains the crowd with his brand of folk/country tinged songs. “lines To Love” starting off the set was about how we are connected to each other by the words we use to express out affections: “They define who we are, they will guide us to the stars”. Honoring his roots, Steve does songs about rural Virginia and “Grayson Lady” was about a place in the southwestern part of the state that draws him in. Is today’s country music really country anymore? “Country-versy” discusses this question with a look at both traditional and modern styles. “Open Doors” was song that asks us to live each day like it’s the last, and try to see the positive things in life. “Everythings Just Too Good” was a play on words like “I’ve got two good arms to hold you” and two of other body parts (legs, ears etc.) to do things with. Returning to his rural roots again, Steve performed “At Home On the Backroads” about how neighbors look out for and respect each other. “Something About Your Love” describes how the singer is attracted to his love and how she keep him hanging around. The last song of the night “Sunrise” was a feel good uplifting tune about how seeing the morning light brings new hope into the singer’s life.
Though sparsely attended, the audience was very appreciative of the performers and the entertainment they provided.