BnrGood.gif (2906 bytes)

 
Playing Around With Poi Dog Pondering
by Steve Pick
St. Louis Post - Dispatch
; St. Louis, Mo.; Sep 25, 1992


POI DOG PONDERING had just finished its set Wednesday at Mississippi Nights. The musicians had delivered what they always deliver, an invigorating and uplifting dose of infectiously danceable, bubbling music. The crowd, as is normal, demanded an encore. One hour later, the show was finally over.

This was clearly not a band too interested in going home. It played four songs from its standard repertoire, left the stage, and the crowd kept demanding more. This time, when it came back, the band was in the mood to play around a bit.

Musicians (including members of the road crew) wandered on and off stage, depending on whether or not they knew the song being performed. They played at least one song so new that even Frank Orrall, who wrote it, forgot the chord changes during the bridge; he dealt with it like a pro, stopping in the middle, apologizing and starting that part over again.

Cover material was pulled from all sorts of sources. Drummer Daren Hess came up front to sing an old Ronnie Lane song. Orrall offered up a medley of disco material, which included one song I recognized but couldn't quite place (though, if pressed, I'd guess it originally was by David Bowie) and the classic "Rock Your Boat" by George McCrae. Orrall also sang "Something About What Happens When We Talk" from the latest Lucinda Williams album.

The show concluded with an incendiary rendition of Elvis Presley's "Burning Love," sung by one of the group's roadies, who sounds more like Elvis than just about anybody I've heard. While it was fully aware of the camp value in covering Elvis at all, Poi Dog Pondering never lost sight of the fact that the song is one of the most powerful grooves in rock 'n' roll history.

During the main body of the show, Poi Dog Pondering played most of the same material it did when it last visited in the spring, which is to say most of the songs from its latest album, "Volo Volo." The musicians were saddled with a sound system that overemphasized the treble of snare drum, high-hat and acoustic guitar, as well as the rich mid-range tones of Susan Voelz's violin, at the expense of keyboards and especially electric guitars.

This hurt the band occasionally, before things were straightened out and the full crunch of the band's sound could be brought to bear on the sporadic rockers in their set. (It threw in a verse of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and proved that it could whip up a frenzy on a heavy metal classic with the best of them.)

This band has assimilated a wide range of musical influences, from Stax-Volt soul to African pop to country folk to hard-edged rock. As this was the fifth time I've seen the group play live, I've come to realize that the formal qualities of these influences lie in the individual playing of each member. Hess is capable of impeccably reproducing grooves of any number of classic rock 'n' roll styles; Voelz takes her chops from the intersection of folk and romantic classical material; guitarist Adam Sultan can slip through Steve Cropper-like arpeggios and then switch gears to play a bone-crunching hard rock riff.

But, these influences coalesce into one irreducible Poi Dog Pondering sound, which kept virtually everyone in the club at least swaying and usually dancing wildly throughout the delightful performance.

 


Go Home Now

10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
What's Up?!
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)

10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)Lost now Found
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Kenney Thump
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
 Ronnie Lane
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Mac Mick Lag Un
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Who?
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Pre-Petrified Wood
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Tetsu, CALL ME!
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Discography
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
All Sorts of Photos
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Hear Faces talk about Phases of Faces
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Learn the Real Words
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Learn to Play with Yourself
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Links (and other odd sausages)10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
10pixSpacer.gif (79 bytes)
Sign It Now



 



Kenney     Plonk     Mac     Rod      Woody     Tetsu
Home     What's New     Sitemap      Discography     Sounds     Lyrics    Chords
Links     Forum     Guest Book

contact us

(c) 1999-2004  
Dave McNarie.  All Rights Reserved.