Blame Sally worships at the church of rock and roll
February 11, 2013
It’s not every day that you can see a rock and roll show in a San Luis Obispo church on a Friday night, is it?
Well this is SLO town, not exactly a live music mecca with clubs on every corner, so I’ll take what I can get. And it seemed like a cool thing, plus it’s always good to switch things up and exit your comfort zone.
Usually you get rewarded when you do and that was the case for me when I ventured out to see country folk rock outfit Blame Sally at the United Church of Christ last week.
These four ladies and one dude on bass hail from the Bay Area, where they formed the band in 2000, and seem as comfortable on stage as they might be in your kitchen hanging out and drinking wine.
And boy can these girls play.
For most of the show, the tight, cohesive quintet focused on material from their latest release in 2011, ‘Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.’ ‘Living without You’ is a driving ditty that offers a fresh, unsentimental take on breaking up. ”Bird in the Hand’ followed, a completely different but equally refreshing song in more traditional folk style, with a strong narrative, dreamy harmonies and even a surf guitar solo. How about that?
‘Countdown’ is an upbeat, sarcastic look keeping up in a superficial world. ‘Throw Me a Bone’ was a soft, soothing ballad about getting But their strongest song of the night was ‘Love is Our Religion,’ anthemic, melodic and unrecorded so forget about iTunes. You know it’s a keeper when there’s an immediate connection with a song you hear for the first time. With Blame Sally, everything comes around to love so who can argue with that.
A soulful cover of ‘Chain of Fools’ followed by a heartfelt rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Never Going Back Again’ elicited whoops and hollers from the older, mostly laid-back crowd. They threw in a tribute to Elton John, something about loving rock music (who doesn’t) and a Spanish a capella finale.
I’m telling you, the performance had more switchbacks than a curvy mountain road.
I know it’s a cliché but the whole is sometimes greater than the sum of its parts. Blame Sally confirmed this truism and confirmed their place in the independent music world as a songwriting and song playing powerhouse.
Sure, it took a while to get used to the whole rocking-in-a church-pew thing but musicians Pam, Renee, Jeri, Monica and Rob helped the crowd get into their comfort zone right from the get-go. The cool thing about Blame Sally is that they are not easily categorized, no one label quite fits. So if you have an open mind, which I try to keep when seeing a new, genre-bending act, it makes for a memorable show, if not a difficult review.
So if this particular write-up sucks, that’s my excuse.
Anyway, kudos to the San Luis Obispo Folk Muisc Society for bringing such great acts to the Central Coast. They, along with the SLO Blues Society, help keep the local scene alive and vibrant, which ain’t always easy. I’m not normally a cheerleader but whatever you fancy, get out and enjoy some live music, there’s a ton of talented if unheralded musicians out there.
Bands like Blame Sally will make you glad you did.
The next SLO Folks concert features Italian guitar virtuoso Beppe Gambetta on Friday, March 1 at Coalesce Bookstore.