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View Full Version : Ukulele Wah-Wah ft. Jake, Victoria Vox, etc. 11/5 in NYC!



haole
11-05-2008, 08:51 AM
Anyone else going to see Jake, Jon Braman, Sonic Uke, and Victoria Vox tonight at the Blender? I'm super pumped.

menehunenyc
11-05-2008, 04:44 PM
Man I didn't even know Jake was in NYC again...another lost opportunity, I'm now 0 for 3!! Again I am forced to say...Maybe next time...:(

DeG
11-06-2008, 04:11 PM
Haole, tell us how this show was...sounds like a great line-up!!

deach
11-07-2008, 04:29 AM
bumping for a review....

haole
11-09-2008, 04:10 PM
The show rocked my face.

Sonic Uke opened. Some goofy guys from the city's Ukulele Cabaret, who specialize in silly 60s tunes and wearing minimal clothing. It was a short, entertaining set.

Victoria Vox came on next. Love her! She's a lot of fun onstage, and her songs are so unbelievably catchy. Oddly enough, my favorite song was "C'est Noyé" even though I can't understand a word of it. :p After her set, I ended up buying her CD, bugging her to sign it, and chatting with her before the next act came on. One of the nicest musicians I've ever met.

Next came Melvern Taylor and the Mel-Tones, a four-piece with uke, slide guitar, upright bass, and a tiny drum kit. Definite 1940s-50s vibe, and even the drinking songs displayed some great songwriting chops. Their album is on my short list of stuff to buy once I have money. :B

I didn't know what to expect from the "ukulele hip-hop guy," John Braman. And I certainly didn't expect to be so into it! He took the stage with his baritone uke, an afro'd backup singer, a bassist, and a beatboxer. One of the most original sounds I've heard in a while. Even the older audience members enjoyed it. Sweet uking, social commentary, and sick beats all at once!

While I had a few Jake songs in my iTunes, I wasn't too familiar with the extent of his music or the man himself. Part of me expected a noodly virtuosic Yngwie-Malmsteen-esque wankfest with the performer occasionally looking down his nose at the audience to make sure they're suitably impressed. After being bored and unimpressed by so many overhyped virtuoso guitarists, I was cynical. The uke community sure does talk about Jake a lot, and most of the younger ukers want to be him. Hype? Still, I decided to give him a chance.
Oh man.
From the first note he played, I could tell that this was something special. Not only does he have technique to die for, but the sound coming out of that uke was otherworldly. It sounded like there were three people up onstage, instead of a shy Asian guy and four strings. In fact, songs like "Dragon" and "Let's Dance" sounded more spectacular solo than the album versions.
Between songs, he chatted with the audience, told stories about how each tune was inspired, and confessed that he can't play a single song on the piano. He's human after all!
The highlights of his set were a sweet version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (in honor of its 25th anniversary!), and of course "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." By the end of the set, I was converted. It wasn't just good uke playing; it was good music.

At the end of the show, Jake came down to the front of the stage to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign stuff. What's more impressive than his uke playing is that he's a regular guy, with no ego, and he treats all his fans like old friends! It certainly didn't feel like meeting a virtuoso musician for the first time. He gave a shout-out to Ukulele Underground and I even got him to flash the UU gang sign in a picture. ;)

Overall, the show made a huge impression on me, and I was happy to discover such great artists. And now I'm motivated to practice.