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El Camino Super Charging September First Friday

Posted in: Concerts & Events, First Friday, Local Talent, News | No Comments | Posted on by Mary Anne

El Camino Rocks the Cheeky Monkey: Sarnia’s First Friday Celebration, September 2018
by Brian Hay

The addition of bassist Glen Perry and keyboard player Lise Jordan changes the face of this band immensely.

That Glen provides an excellent rhythm partner for drummer Steve Bird is a factor of huge importance. They listen to each other closely, slide lock-step into whatever the other does with (seemingly) no effort and it spins off to the rest of the band. Guitarist Marvin Eskritt slides in with lead or rhythm parts according to the needs of the songs. Lise Jordan reinforces Glen’s bass lines and injects ornamentation in the same manner while lead singer and guitarist Scott Whyte doubles rhythm lines or weaves with lead passages delivered by Eskritt. All of it is very tasteful. More on that later …

The area that shows the most obvious difference stems from Lise and Glen both being solid vocalists. Having three singers opens an array of possibilities and the band is clearly having fun exploring them. Their cover of ‘Dead Flowers’ had the creative jump provided by Watts, Wyman and Richards and became distinct by having Lise Jordan handle the lead vocal. The call and response singing that had the lead in the harmony singing by Glen and Lise shifting back and forth was a brilliant touch on the group’s stellar rendition of ‘I Ain’t Ever Satisfied’. ‘Copperhead Road’ benefited from Glen playing the mandolin while Lise used the keyboard to provide an effect reminiscent of bagpipes. ‘Stray Cat Strut’ got a delicious reading that benefited vocally and instrumentally from the expanded capabilities of the group. Those are just a few examples.

The work done by any of the members could be cited as models of impeccable taste. The shifts in Marvin Eskritt’s lead and rhythm work were so fluid listeners were transported almost before transitions could be noted. Steve Bird brought imaginative nuances and a lot of humour to his drumming constantly without ever seeming overly busy. Scott Whyte sang with expressiveness that was rich but not overdone while delivering both solid rhythm guitar work to reinforce the band’s foundation. There was no showboating among this ensemble, just a lot of tasteful ornamentation delivered by group of accomplished musicians working as a team to bring forth what the music had to offer. The sum was indeed, greater than the parts, no mean feat considering how strong those parts were to begin with.

As things stand, they found plenty of nuggets within the songs they played. It was a fun night and they’re full value for the praise they’re getting here.



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