The Kenny Selcer Band ~ 2014 March 7 ~ Paradise Cafe ~ Dedham, MA
Band Personnel: Kenny Selcer, lead vocals, guitar; Liz Buchanan, backing vocals, guitar, ukulele, percussion; Steve Gilligan, bass, backing vocals; Phil Punch, congas.
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Boston-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Kenny Selcer performed two sets of mostly his own material with a couple of fun covers (including a reggae version of "Dancing in the Street"). My only previous experience of Kenny was about a year ago, when he played guitar backing up Steve Gilligan at an Amazing Things open mike.
The favor was returned tonight by Steve Gilligan (bass player for Boston legends The Stompers), as he backed up Kenny on electric bass and backing vocals. The band was rounded out by Liz Buchanan on backing vocals, guitar, ukulele, and an assortment of interesting percussion instruments, and Phil Punch on congas. This is a very skilled group of four musicians, playing together seamlessly despite the relative rarity of their live performances. Liz sang lead on a couple of songs.
This band has a very strong vocal presence, as the three voices were very well matched. The use of congas (rather than a more extensive drum setup) lent an international / folk feel to the music. Kenny's songs can be described as belonging to the folk rock or Americana genre. New England has been in the grip of a particularly cold winter, and it was nice to hear the song "Massachusetts Morning" (from Kenny's latest CD) with its promise of the coming of spring (scroll up for a video of this song).
The Paradise Cafe, a restaurant/bar in the heart of Dedham, a suburb to the south of Boston, books live music every Friday and Saturday. There is no stage, but an adequate space was provided at the front of the room for the four musicians. Unfortunately the lighting mainly illuminated the two in the back (Steve and Phil) leaving Kenny and Liz in semi-darkness. Possibly the venue will correct this if they start to become better known as a listening room. They are clearly striving for this reputation, since chairs at tables toward the front of the room were turned to face the performance area. If you are hungry when you get there, they serve reasonably priced panini sandwiches, soups, and desserts.
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