Wives & Lovers
Live at Taix Lounge, Echo Park
The lights are low in the Taix lounge and before the music seeps seductively in, the first words that you hear from the stage are "Take the ribbon from your hair..." its an insouciant whispered promise, an invitation from a more knowingly promiscuous age, it really is, and it trips from the tongue of Wives & Lovers' vocalist Steve Dietrich, as if nothing could be easier or more likely, that if you were the girl with the ribbons, oh you would... What follows is a full on memphis country soul version of Kris Kristofferson's 'Help Me Make It Through The Night'. At last, a band worth leaving the house for.
As daring and exciting as the opening is, it's not the only moment of the night owed to Kris Kristofferson's back pages, later Wives & Lovers revisit 'Sunday Morning Coming Down' with even greater aplomb. If hangovers always sounded this painfully good, I'd have one every day.
When they ease into Tim Hardin's 'If I Were A Carpenter' the challenge for the audience is immense. The reference points all add up. It reminds me much of Tav Falco Panther Burns - and his dedication to songs not enough people paid attention to anymore. Didn't he say something about being reluctant to write new songs when there are so many great ones already out there. I think Wives & Lovers at least, were listening.
Along the way, guitarist and backing vocalist Lulu, takes over on lead vocals while Dietrich ambles around the stage, like we can't get enough of him, on another of her songs he quits for the bar.
Wives & Lovers return to Taix in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 28th. Meanwhile, for a limited time, enjoy this great introduction to the band:
Curt Carson's guitar has plenty of Gram Parsons flourishes and bassist John Carlucci had great hands, fast, flamboyant, his playing style reminded me of a young Ali, those fast hands, those jabs, I swear to god, no less.
They close the show with an epic 'Never Been To Spain'.
At Taix, Wives & Lovers had their friend, Muddy sit in on drums (for Dale Daniel), and played without their pianist Robert Lohayza, but it seemed to impact them little. There was a touch of the mayhem of Scott Walker - when he sang Jacques Brel, about it all. Like they can't be trusted. Like Gallon Drunk at full tilt. But that's the way it's gonna be with Wives & Lovers, they're gonna shake it loose and they're gonna let it fall.
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