The Hotel Café Hollywood, CA
Players: Heike Binder, keyboard; Eric McCann, bass; Greg Gordon, drums; Georg Altziebler, guitar, vocals
Material: Son of the Velvet Rat is a mix of Americana, folk, heartland, psychedelic and rock & roll all wrapped up in one package. Songs like “Solitary Company” and “Franklin Avenue” convey an eeriness and brings a creepy, “scary movie” feel to the show. Lots of psychedelic synthesizers envelope the room as hints of Pink Floyd and Feetwood Mac seep out of every note. “Eleven & Nine” and “Stardust” are good ‘ol, hard-driving rock & roll that had the audience dancing in their seats. “Another Glass of Champagne” is reminiscent of Gypsy style music and is a “Tom Petty meets Bob Dylan while having dinner at Pink Floyd’s house” kind of tune.
Musicianship: The musicianship was good. Nothing fancy going on here, just good, solid play that made the Hotel Café rumble. McCann and Gordon had the rhythm section locked down on just about every song while Binder and Altziebler led the way with vocals, keyboards and rhythm guitar. “Sweet Angela” had everyone busy. While the music said Dylan, the vocals cried Petty and they tugged ‘n pulled, but in the end, the harmonies brought everything together.
Performance: The performance was very good. The music kept everything alive and kicking especially toward the end. Songs like “The Only Child” made the rhythm section come alive and brought out the creativity that Gordon and McCann were holding back. “Eleven & Nine” kept everything fresh as Altziebler broke out a great harmonica solo, and Binder sneakily unleashed the accordion to add another layer of creativity to the show.
Summary: Sons of the Velvet Rat are multi-instrumentalists with a wide, diverse set of songs. They’ll take you from dreary, creepy songs to full-throttle rock & roll in no time and won’t even look back. “Alicia” stands out palpably, with the tag line ”Do You Love Me, Do You Love Me?” You could almost feel Altziebler’s pain as he sang out to his love interest. And as Binder aided ever so subtly in the calamity with superb harmonies and outstanding backing vocals, it was moments like that which made this night a good one for the Rat; The Velvet Rat, that is. •