The Rain Chorus and Domani

By Patrick Fitzgerald

On Wednesday, December 5, a showcase of some of Louisville's best original music was presented at Snagilwet (Tewligans).

The opening set was only the second performance of Danny Flanigan's new band, the Rain Chorus and the second set was a record contract-signing party of Domani.

Anyone who has seen Danny's solo performances during the past year would attest to the quality behind his songwriting and performing ability. Given Danny's distinctive and very particular sound, any band effort would have to be equally distinctive to convey the same feeling and not cover up a good thing. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the band's sound is the fact that they sounded so much like a band and not just Danny with backup. Only Danny's vocals set him apart as the front man in this impressive musical ensemble.

Filling out the stage are Cary Shields on drums, Dony Erwin on electric fretless bass and Reid Jahn sitting in on soprano saxophone.

The songs are all Danny's and, with very little exception, the band sound only complements the original songs that Danny has played for the past year. Any worries that a trap drum set or a bass would overpower or cover the sound proved to be unfounded by the musical ability of Dony and Cary and Reid Jahn's saxophone was pure icing on the sound.

The crowd was very receptive to what should prove to be a continuing effort in the Louisville music scene and beyond.

The band will be featured in a music showcase in Nashville on January 10, 11 and 12. The showcase is a non-country extravaganza featuring 20-25 bands from this region. The past success of bands in this particular showcase has resulted in about 25% of them signing to record labels. After hearing the fruits of only two performances, one can only assume that the band will be heard by a great many people.

The show continued with the record-signing part of Domani whose funk- gospel-blues-rock style has caught the eye of many people in the area, including MCA Records.

The band is composed of five individuals who could all take the spotlight with equal bravado and showmanship. Whether or not Domani has worked at achieving this stage image, the end result is the same with this showy, entertaining band with its big sound and vocal harmonies.

Most lead vocals and lead guitar are the responsibility of Todd Johnson whose guitar work sounds better all the time. His brother Stewart is perhaps the biggest ham of the group as well as being an excellent and interesting drummer to watch and hear. His innate rhythmic ability overflows into a very fun energy. Sam Anderson provides a solid rhythmic bass sound while his vocal acrobatics can make any P.A. system obsolete. Todd Smith's piano work adds a lot to the sound and combined with John Bahandas' acoustic guitar, it keeps the sound full but not overly electric.

The band milks the crowd for perhaps even more than it's worth and the crowd eats it up. The band members have a tendency to try out each others' instruments, which is sometimes interesting. Sam Anderson has single- handedly made "Steamroller" the new "Free Bird" of rock 'n' roll, stretching it out to 10 or 15 minutes.

The band signed their contract onstage and are now MCA recording artists. We'll just have to wait and see how far they can ride the wave they are currently riding.