Material: Amy Winehouse springs to mind once Alma Lake starts jazz scatting, sporting a baby beehive. Her love for the ‘60s is apparent not only from her hairstyle but from her peace symbol earrings, big circular glasses and velvet dress with fringed sleeves straight out of Easy Rider.
Given the allusions to the psychedelic rock era, the band covers Janis Joplin’s classic hit “Piece Of My Heart.” While this is a predictable choice, Lake’s effortless, naturally raspy vocals satisfy for the cover enthusiast. With as much kitsch as can be mustered you would expect this to be a novelty act, but the set features more original songs written by Lake, like her empowering “Summer.”
Musicianship: The band makes Otis Redding’s “Respect” their own with a slower verse followed by a picked uptempo by Singer for the bridge. The original tunes here have great funky bass lines thanks to Reymond. One such original is “Weird Craving” where the band mixes things up by building from just keyboard and vocals to a full band. Serrano gets showcased on both “Summer” and “Piece of My Heart.” On their original song “I Won’t” the group needs to work on bringing down their overall volume levels so that the keyboard solo can be heard. Singer keeps his drum solos short and sweet for the band introduction instrumental rounds.
Performance: Woodard got the crowd ramped up by announcing Lake’s entrance. For her original, “Weird Craving,” the singer really took her time to connect with the crowd as she worked the stage and danced with an audience member. It was notable and impressive that she did all this on some pretty serious platform shoes. At points, Lake was almost too aggressive in her attempt to encourage audience participation, which was met with an amount of heckling. Undaunted, she joined her backup singers for a little choreography, which encouraged some dancing.
Summary: Alma Lake puts on a theatrical performance. She makes good use of her band and backup singers, and the group pulls all the standard punches. The novelty of dressing in hippie attire is sufficient to draw the attention of club patrons, but as Lake continues to progress as an artist she may find her own unique style while still paying tribute to her influences.
Photo by Sara Carona
The Players: Alma Lake, vocals; Kim Taleas, backup vocals; Kristy Guiuan, backup vocals; Michael Woodard, backup vocals; Victor Singer, drums; Eric Reymond, bass; Rafael Maceijski, keyboards; Bernardo Serrano, guitar.
Looking to get your music reviewed in the magazine? Click HERE!