lovesauce & soulbones

a first taste at Phoenix Hill

By Mark Clark

It was a scenario that would make almost any band cringe: Playing a first gig before a large crowd laced with record industry types and fellow musicians, all of them expecting something great.

It was an environment in which lovesauce and soulbones thrived.

The group made its debut with a 65-minute set, one of four bands on the bill at a Rough Diamond Music Network "Original Wednesday"at Phoenix Hill Tavern June 2. Crowds were surprisingly thin for the first two acts on the bill, LMNOP and Evil Twin Theory, but patrons began to pour in as showtime approached for lovesauce and soulbones. (Joe's Report closed the evening's four performances.)

The members of lovesauce and soulbones took the stage one at a time. Sam Anderson was the last to enter, bounding on stage sporting a bald pate and a confident grin. By the time he stepped to the microphone, the band was already deep into the groove of WHAT??.

After an endearing, though bungled, introduction by percussionist/vocalist Ray Rizzo, the 'Bones next tore into perhaps its best number, the ultrafunky "Move Your Net."If local hospitals ever run out of stethoscopes, they could use this song to check the condition of seriously ill patients. If the subject doesn't shake his ass when this tune comes on, he's dead.

There were no shortage of rhythms for dancers to ride. Other up-tempo highlights included the melodic "Talkin' 'Bout Love,"which saxophonist Mauriece Hamilton ripped open with a smouldering solo intro, and a medley of the kinetic "Ghima"and the band's signature piece, "lovesauce and soulbones."

If the group's dance tunes were impressive, however, its ballads were no less remarkable.

The emotional centerpiece of the show was Anderson's powerful reading of "Love and Peace,"which he preceded with a long monologue. Patrons were milling around and talking when Anderson began the monologue, about a man attempting to move a mountain one pebble at a time. By the time he finished the story about five minutes later the crowd of 450 or so was silent and still. It was a touching moment, so much so that Anderson teared up midway through the song.

The group all of whom have fine singing voices also offered an a capella selection, "Be a Leader."

It was a lot of music crammed into a mere hour set. Perhaps the evening's most striking feature was the poise and polish with which the band performed. No disinterested observer would have ever guessed the show was the band's first.

Afterward, industry types, musicians and casual listeners were all buzzing. No one seemed to know what to call the music they just heard rock? soul? jazz? funk? but one thing was certain. Everybody wanted to hear it again.

The band's next gig (a full-length "concert appearance) is set for July 4 at Tewligan's Tavern.