Kaye Bohler bowls 'em over at Moe's Alley.
By Curtis Cartier
Of the music I heard over the weekend that didn't involve Santa Cruz County Sheriff's deputies uttering their famous "Let's go, party's over" mantra, Sunday's show at Moe's Alley featuring seasoned blues diva Kaye Bohler stands out.
The word "loud" best describes bodacious singer's musical style as well as her personality. Dressed in a retina-damaging pink Spandex outfit complete with billowing pant legs and sleeves, the sultry Bohler seduced the crowd for more than four hours while bellowing blues anthems with gale force. A true centerpiece, Bohler stood out against her five-piece veteran blues band like a pop-up book cutout. Still, with solid drumming and a frisky trumpet blower, the troupe provided a perfect show for the singer to steal. And steal it she did, with songs typically upbeat and funky broken up by the occasional long-faced blues ballad.
Although the crowd was more "experienced" than on any given hip-hop night, they scuffed up the dance floor with reckless abandon, twirling and shuffling with their spiffed-up dates until late--well, until about 6:30pm. This was an afternoon gig.
Any band that plays the intimate Moe's Alley has the guaranteed benefit of a world-class sound system and a great acoustical setup. And with one or two exceptions, the staff is always friendly and drinks are usually strong.
Sunday, Bohler took advantage of all the Alley had to offer and gave plenty back in return. With a forthcoming album due out in October, the singer is in the midst of a NorCal tour and is also slated to play the Santa Cruz Wharf on Thursday, Aug. 23. If you're into solid blocks of rump-shaking blues, check it out because that's the name of the girl's game.
Sheena: Warrior Electronica
Sheena is not a warrior princess or the queen of the jungle. But even without a boomerang or a leopard leotard, the band is planning a savage assault on the Blue Lagoon dance floor Aug. 27.
Formed in 2003, Sheena has, through a number of lineup changes, coalesced into a well-oiled dance pop machine. Part of the local indie label Loves in Heat Records, which also sponsors Mountain Animal Hospital and Giraffes? Giraffes!, Sheena combines trashy distorted vocal screams with minimalistic poppy synths. Reminiscent of '80s pop thieves Orgy, the often chaotic sound of Sheena manages to simultaneously make listeners want to dance and slit their wrists. The Blue Lagoon will offer a perfect setting for dancing suicide, as it serves as the nexus of the angst-rock and electro rock scene and is a short drive to Dominican Hospital.
Sheena's latest album, Wah-Ha Era, is a raspy boogie bin about the torments of growing up middle class and white in paradise. The frequent shirt-tugging and face-rubbing that frontman Matt Wilson displays in his live sets is proof of his anguish. With a couple of fancy music videos from their songs "Bread and Water" and "Social Butterfly," the group is pushing hard for exposure. And although the young musicians have yet to fully realize their creative potential, they've developed a sound that's both familiar and distinctive--like a local brand of orange soda. So grab an undersized shirt and a fistful of Zoloft and head to the Blue next week if depression makes you dance.
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