Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
Sept. 2015 VOCAL Showcase.
On tap at O’Toole’s tonight , besides their large array of craft brews, was original music by John Ellis and Norm Roscher. The musical theme. as presented by both performers, could be labelled in many ways. but, mellow, moody, laid back or nostalgic would seem to fit. Many of the songs presented tonight were being done for the first time at the showcase, or ones previously seldom heard. John, on acoustic guitar opened the evening with “Just What You’re Looking For” an instrumental he had composed for his brother’s wedding. “The Least You Could Have Done Was Call” followed, his first ever song written, told about a doomed relationship which only needed a never received phone call to finish it. “I’ll Be There For You ” was self explanatory. Next up “Brother” was a cautionary tale warning the singee to get to know the person before getting involved. Another instrumental “Winter Solstice” followed and John’s last song, the most upbeat one of the night, was In My Place” in which the singer offers himself as a substitute lover until she can find the right one.
Norm Roscher is noted for his off-the-wall humorous singalong songs which he usually performs with his group “The Clackwells. Tonight however he took a more somber tone in his choice of music. Starting out on the keyboard, “Pictures of Irene” was inspired by and a tribute to a friend’s mother who had impressed him during his younger years. “My Little Girl” was inspired while watching his daughter sleeping and contained the promise of always loving her and keeping her foremost in his mind. “Idle Time”, co-written by VOCAL member Pam McCarthy followed. “When I See Your Face” had a similar theme to “My Little Girl” of being inspired by the vi=sage of a loved one. At this point. Norm switched to guitar to continue, and led off this portion of his set with one of his first ever guitar written songs “When I Wake Up in the Morning” which showed off his chops on guitar very well. “Lady of the Poppies” has a dirge like quality to it and spoke of a statue at a grave site in Hollywood Park that impressed him enough to write about it. Shifting to a more upbeat tone, “Prince of the Tree” evoked childhood memories in him of being able to sing out loud while observing the world from the top of a tree and the feeling of omniscience one gets in that position. Last full song in his set was Mr. Sleepyhead” in which the power of sleep over us was examined and explained. A coda followed, thanking the sparse audience for being there and bravely bearing up whilst listening to his set.
Tonight’s showcase was short in time but long on some excellent music and emotional content by both singers.