Material: The Papermoon Gypsys are one of those groups that American music relies upon heavily without often acknowledging it. They are a top-quality bar-band, and a blues band at that. This is the sort of outfit you hope to see when you see the words “live music” on a board outside of a local dive, but all too often don’t. To some, “bar-band” has become something of a pejorative term in this country, but that’s nonsense. Excellent musicians performing exemplary blues-rock music together, and putting themselves right in front of the public, on the public’s own turf, should be celebrated. There’s nothing innovative or even spectacular about the Papermoon Gypsys’ “Big Brother & the Holding Company-meets-the Commitments” white rhythm and blues, but it’s perfectly enjoyable. Mind you, the closing cover of “Sweet Dreams” was a welcome curveball, more Marilyn Manson than Eurythmics.
Musicianship: Again, all five of the people on stage do their job with professional pizazz and style. Singer Lexi G has a powerful set of pipes, wailing through the seven-song set and putting her all into every note. The rest of the band, equally, doesn’t put a foot wrong all night. There’s a hint of “session musician” about all but guitarist Big Daddy, a man who bears a passing resemblance to Don Was. He’s a fun guitarist, alternating trad blues licks with elaborate riffs when the songs allow. Special mention goes to keys man Margolis, who does offer a synthy twist when, at times, it’s not expected.
Performance: Lexi G was clearly the focal point, writhing and throwing herself into every note. She’s as good a performer as she is a singer––as much contemporary pop diva as classic blues singer. Big Daddy was capable of some classic rock lead guitarist poses, which made things a little more interesting. The rest of the band did their jobs and they did them well, but there’s little in the way of performance.
Summary: The Papermoon Gypsys have received plenty of praise in their hometown of Los Angeles, regularly listed among the “best blues band” nominees in various magazine polls. It’s easy to see why––they sound great, and they’re fun to watch. The perfect bar-band then.
Photo by Brett Callwood
The Players: Lexi G, vocals; Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams, guitar, vocals; Albert Margolis, keyboards; Tony Robin, bass; Ray Weston, drums.