By Beti Trauth, Beacon Correspondent
This past Saturday night’s LostCoastLive6 concert at the Ferndale Rep provided yet another amazing evening of music performed by world-class artists whose identities were kept under wraps until they took the stage. But, it also marked the end of the innovative “discovering mystery musicians” series’ showcase for the time being.
According to its creator, DC3 Entertainment’s Jon Phelps, there will be a break until an undetermined date in the fallbut he promises that the intriguing shows will return to introduce more “unknown famous talents” to local audiences.
The unique LostCoastLive concept began last July, returning every two months in a one-night-only format of world-class musicians at The Rep. Used as fund-raising vehicles for the theater itself (and various other Eel Valley non-profits), the shows have raised literally thousands of dollars with their consistently sold-out performances.
LostCoastLive6 proved to be a fitting “temporary” finale for the series, featuring two more fabulous artists: Mike Keneally and David Wilcox. Keneally, an intense and wildly creative guitar player, vocalist, songwriter and arranger from San Diego, brought down the house during the first half of the evening with his consummate musicianship and engaging personality.
Joined on stage by his marvelous bass player, Bryan Beller, the pair were organic in their connection, moving through the complex arrangements of near-abstract compositions and rhythmic patterns with effortless ease.
Keneally’s original songs were extraordinarily innovative in structure, and lyrically whimsical in content. References to “dogs” were often woven into lots his material; and there was also a song he’d written around his daughter’s reaction to his shoes (among other things) burning up in a tour bus.
A member of the legendary Frank Zappa’s last touring band, Keneally himself proved to be just as entertaining, innovative and unpredictable as his former musical mentor.
At one point in his performance, he suddenly (much to the surprise of both his bass player and the audience) started alternating between playing his guitar with one hand and the near-by piano with the otherwithout missing a beat. It was wonderful.
Rounding out the second half of the concert, David Wilcox proved why he has been described as giving “sensitive singer/songwriters back their good name.”
Influenced by Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell (and Motown), Wilcox says he’s “drawn to artists who disclose something about themselves (in their music) and let you in their world.”
Blessed with a rich, mesmerizing baritone and accompanying himself with studied, casual skill on guitar, Wilcox was masterful as he seamlessly shared his paradoxical takes on life’s deepest and darkest questionsall served up with an undercurrent of sly wisdom and humor. He was also joined on stage for several numbers by wife, Nance, who added her strong vocal harmonies.
Throughout, his material offered some surprising premises, such as why relationships would work better if they always “began at the end, because that’s when the honesty begins.” He also interspersed his “soothing words against the darkness of the soul we’ve all known” compositions, with some lighter moments.
These included a song whose lyrics reflected the viewpoint of a old, 1950’s, tail-finned car who doesn’t want to “rust alone by the side of the road” without having its chrome polished up, and taken for one last tire-squealing ride by an 18 year driver.
However, Wilcox closed his set a poignant and thought-provoking number that explored voyaging into the unknown, like a sailor at sea who lets “the lines slip through his hands” and just sails on. He then tied that imagery to the visionary LostCoastLive Concerts.
DC3 Entertainment indeed launched a creative concept that took a chance, and by doing so, have uncovered and discovered brave new musical worldswith more still unexplored but waiting on the horizon. Beginning with LostCoastLive7.