City Slang: Brunswick Brawlers and Ciccarelli at WAB

Walked into the WAB on Thursday night and briefly saw the guys from the Rogue Satellites who were waiting for friends to arrive. “Have any bands gone on yet?” I asked. They didn’t know. That’s the thing about playing shows in hang-outs and good food joints like the WAB – there were lots of people there, but maybe half of them were actually there to see the bands, if that. Still, that presents its own challenges that the good bands will rise to: grab the attention of the people who don’t necessarily want their attention grabbed. If you can stop someone mid-bite of a turkey grinder or mid-flow of the day’s news, you’ve cracked it.

The Brunswick Brawlers certainly had a good go. These guys can really play too. Guitarist /vocalist Gino Fanelli is a wild creature – a wonderful mix of rockabilly throwback, New Orleans twang, olde time country and Dee-troit rock ’n’ roll. Ciccarelli bassist Megan Frye described him to me as “Detroit’s Django Reinhardt,” and that’s accurate. The guy whoops and hollers, “pows” and “yeahs” all over nearly every tune.

The vocals are split between the band members, and Fanelli’s voice is as good as his fret-work and showmanship. Liz Mackinder, standing front and center, has quite the voice too, adding cutesy backing vocals or a country purr, whatever is required. The whole band is tight, but it’s the energy that is most impressive. The band is having a ball on stage, and it’s tough not to get carried along.

Ciccarelli are also enjoyable, though in a completely different way. I didn’t catch the whole set, but I saw a few muso-friendly instrumental tracks that were compelling. It’s an odd approach; the band kind of gather in a circle, as if they’re playing for each other rather than the crowd, which is actually kinda cool. Like a public jam. The sound sits somewhere between dusty Americana and psychedelia, which is an interesting place to sit.

The Webbs also played. It was, in fact, their record release show. Sorry guys, an ultra-early start on Friday meant that I had to miss it.


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