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MUSIC Mikey Wax, Brendan James fill SPACE
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester
2014-09-16

This article shared 3051 times since Tue Sep 16, 2014
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On Sept. 9, Evanston, Illinois got a double blast of East Coast rock-pop with an SRO show at SPACE featuring pianist/composer/singer Mikey Wax and troubadour Brendan James.

Touring behind his third album and major label debut, Wax dipped into his songbook, which was laden with a variety of styles and flavors. His set ranged from the dramatic ( "The Last Great Song," "Let You Roam" ) to the light and bouncy ( the new "Bottle of Jack" ). As expected, the highlight was his live take on his hit "You Life Me Up," which was nothing short of heaven-bound.

Headliner James' music may have been more consistently dramatic, but he certainly was not. Facing an adoring crowd that had been whetted by Wax and proved to be just as vocal as the star attraction, he cracked jokes about Sarah Palin while telling stories about his early songcrafting career in college.

With all the mirth whizzing around the cozy room, James' set was loaded with thunderous, intensely personal and dramatic readings of his songs such as "Manchester," "Green" and "Let It Rain." The punchline of the evening was that his audience refused to let him leave the stage, with sections of the crowd dancing and blocking the aisles.


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