Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fat Kid Wednesdays + Buckley

When: Friday, March 13, 2009 • Where: Café Maude Who: Fat Kid Wednesdays: Michael Lewis, saxes; Adam Linz, bass; J.T. Bates, drums

I’m liking Maude more and more. Owner Kevin Sheehy is committed to keeping the music going, the food good, the art fresh. It’s a too-loud crowd for the music but these days the operative word is “crowd.” And somehow it has become a place that gets away with presenting real music, often cutting-edge music, where no one seems to be listening.

It doesn't seem that the musicians who play there are gritting their teeth and putting up with it just because it’s a gig. They like Maude, too. Plus other musicians regularly show up to see their friends play. Tonight it’s bassist/composer James Buckley, who sits in for Linz for a couple of tunes near the end of the last set. I know about Buckley and hear about him often but have never seen him play—the timing has never worked out—so this is a first.

FKW is fine tonight. They give their usual nod to the Shaggs with “That Little Sportscar,” which Don Berryman caught on video when they played it at the AQ in January.

But most of the night is mellow—ballads and standards. Lewis’s mom Mary is here and he’s making her happy. Vince Mendoza’s “Ambivalence.” “Makin’ Whoopie.” The killer closer, “In a Sentimental Mood.” I won’t say FKW “deconstructs” the standards—the melodies and rhythms are still strong—but they do stretch them, bend them, reshape them.

Although Lewis is best known for his out-there saxophone antics (and, more recently, for playing electric bass with Andrew Bird), he is a superb player of standards, with a meltingly, heartbreakingly beautiful tone. We’re all googly-eyed during “Sentimental Mood.”

What a great band. Why everyone doesn’t come out to hear them every time they play is a mystery. Mary tells us they have played together for 15 years—half their lives. That’s probably how they make it look so easy.

Hear more FKW on MySpace.
Buckley is finishing up a CD with his trio (Bryan Nichols on keyboard/piano, J.T. on drums) and posting tracks on MySpace.

Photos by John Whiting. Top to bottom: Lewis, Buckley, FKW, Linz.

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