On February 18th Alex’s Bar opened its chamber doors to The Altons’ latin-rock riffs, Pizano and Vitolo’s rocksteady beats, and The Moan’s sounds of motown.
Kicking things off with the right foot (or the other if you’re a lefty) came easy for The Altons. Their cover of “Summertime” was breezy yet edgy. Hopeful weather foresight into post-El Niño tantrums. They turned it up a notch for their cover of “La Negra Tomasa” which transformed into a psychedelic cumbia (your favorite quinceañera track, we know, ours too) with Carlos Santana-style bends and distortion. They ended their set and the place simmered down as Pizano and Vitolo set up their gear for shanty town riddims.
Vocal harmonies channeled into Phyllis Dillon’s frequency while their rhythm section’s timing was lit (you there… grab that extinguisher–stat). Covering “All of Me” can be dangerous because you could easily get caught in a cliché sound but not the way Pizano and Vitolo pulled it off.
Pizano and Vitolo skank and chill at Alex’s Bar
The song’s sensual lyrics blended well with island rhythms which gave it a tropical waterfall effect. Ska tinged that jazz standard and they did the same for a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang”. Normally a classic polyphonic ballad the song metamorphosed into a vivacious and pulpy cocktail. Reverbed guitar melodies such as in their original “Walk Away” added a beachy texture and depth to their overall sound. And as the night progressed The Moan picked up the mic and transitioned from ska to garage-funk and soul.
You need to be careful with “Cut ya up” because it’s like James Brown incarnate. Several notes are on the one beat so you have no chance of escaping its sharp syncopation and chorus. Accompanied by female backup vocals, frontman Lux’s words echoed the harmony of doo wop and soul of motown.
Catch them again or for the first time when they swing back around.[adrotate banner=”4″]