|THE SLANT TAKES PART IN SMASH-HIT VIBS FUNDRAISER|
The following appeared in the December 1997 issue of Long Island Entertainment:|
The VIBS Benefit at New York Avenue
by John Blenn
Its almost impossible, for better or for worse, to try and compete with the NFL for peoples attention on a Sunday afternoon, but for Richard Hughes, there was an excellent reason to give it a shot: VIBS. For those of you that arent quite sure what those letters stand for, know that it is the abbreviation for the Victims Information Bureau Of Suffolk County, a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to women who have been raped, battered or abused. Though Hughes call to arms for support for this fine organization deserved a better fate, those who did attend couldnt have dreamed of a more entertaining afternoon of music.
Hughes, a circuit fixture who recently launched a fanzine celebrating female musicians (Rock Diva), coordinated his debut issue party with the fund-raiser. Gathering four excellent bands with a female spin, Crystal Rose, The Slant, the basals and Iridesense, the five-hour show was marked by rich vocals, an endless stream of fine songs beautifully executed and that oh-so-rare-spirit of camaraderie. The fan who turned out had his moneys worth with any ONE of these groups, but to experience such a cavalcade of fine groups made it one of the Islands shining moments of club shows this year.
Crystal Rose, the outstanding duo of Lori and Jody, were the perfect starting point as many of the audience members were easing coffee into their system and still waking up. With a CD, Look Inside, on the racks and plans to record a new one early in 98, it would be hard to imagine the harmonies of these women getting any better in the days to come. If two people were ever born to sing together, its this pair, as they effortlessly soared through songs like their introspective Rivers Edgeand the autobiographical Alley Parkwith power and grace to spare. Theyre clearly to womanhood what Simon & Garfunkel are to male duos, smart soulful songwriters who share their joy for their art in a warming manner. Lori, who also doubled on flute for a couple of numbers, and Jodi compliment each other as acoustic guitarists in addition to their vocals, and if youre looking for intimate music thatll touch your soul, these ladies are the path you want to take.
The Slant, fronted by Denise, immediately changed the groove of the afternoon and sent out the message that this show would not lack for diversity. Denise, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Bill, keyboardist/vocalist Tom and drummer/vocalist Rich, collectively The Slant, have been called everything from eclectic to weird and Id have to say those are accurate parameters. Showcasing a lot of strong, original pop from their new debut album, musically theyll bring to mind artists like Blondie, Lene Lovich and Spider. Visually they are an entity unto themselves. Bill switched off lead vocals with Denise to give the set some nice changes of pace, as they scored with songs such as Morse Code, Junk Mail, Gameplayerand Sell Me. A faithful rendition of the Rocky Horror Picture Shows Science Fiction Double Featurecame as a pleasant surprise, though it wasnt used to connect originals. Of course, its not hard to picture this group being influenced by a lot of the classic counterculture offerings. The Slant is determined to carve out their own space and theyre doing it the way it should be done: marching to their own beat and seasoning it with a lot of tried and trued flavorings. A band to watch for.
Up third and roaring onto stage loaded for bear, the basals took the room by the throat and shook them. Magically arriving at just the right time to kick the afternoon into overdrive, the Indigo Records artists came out of the game with their aggressive Time Fliesbefore making a transition into the wistful but up tempo Thoughts Of You. Led by dynamo first class Hollis energetic showmanship, stringmen Wil and Mike fluidly moved in and out of a set with the full serving of alternative styles. Ear-catching were new songs such as Underand Kingpin,both slated for their early 98 3rd album (following a debut CD and live tape), as well as staples such as the bopping Dogs Lifeand the slashing Apology,the latter of which would remind you of The Monkees Stepping Stone at points. Throughout, new drummer Joe anchored the controlled mayhem with superb taste and by sets end, there was no doubt why this group is hailed far and wide as one of the Islands absolute best.
Closing up the showcase, but by no means anticlimactic, was the brotber/sister-led Iridesense. With a self-produced debut CD on the near-horizon that chronicles their several years of outstanding work around the area, Tara & Rick (vocalists/fomer bass/guitarist latter), lead guitarist Rob and drummer Ricks Iridesense shows some incredible pop sensibilities. Recently involved in an original L.I. Theatre Production that showcased many of their songs, (the team) seamlessly traded leads back and forth on nuggets such as Nice Try,which has hit single written all over it, Dangerous,which is a fine, flowing pop track and Need A Holiday,a set-ending rave-up that put a big bang into the close of the proceedings. If you havent driven out to see this band yet, HEY! The limos not coming, get in your car and move. Youre cheating yourself staying home with your Sega play-station.
A quality effort all around, the noble work of Richard Hughes & Rock Diva to help out VIBS was a winner whether they made their target numbers or not. The nice part is this: If you missed it, you can catch Crystal Rose, The Slant, the basals and Iridesense around the island, you just wont get the bargain of seeing them all together. AND...if you meant to help VIBS, but couldnt get there, you can call them at (516) 360-3730 if youd like to make a contribution. Their hotline, if youre in need, is (516) 360-3606.