In a parade of bare-chested men, scores of women hand-in-hand, puppies, evil strollers, and an omnipresent cloud of cooking smoke, Market Days 2004 came and went. This year seemed very relaxed compared to years prior. It was great to see the beautiful mix of people on Halsted. As usual, the boys were out in force, standing and posing everywhere along the way. But this year the girls were definitely representing. The straight folks, too.
The stages were filled with a myriad of acts from one genre to the next. The ubiquitous ROTC boys twirled and whirled their way around. Jinx Titanic got the crowd all excited on Sunday, sounding fantastic as usual, but I hope Jinxy is OK. The poor dear sounded a little hoarse. Of course, there is nothing quite like a big hairy man with his shirt off screamin' at the crowd. Even the girls in the crowd were into it.
One of the high points, or at least it was going to be for me, was Lady Miss Kier, formerly of Deee-Lite. She was supposed to DJ at the Addison stage on Sunday at 8:30. Apparently someone couldn't figure out how to plug her in because the only thing that seemed to be emanating from her turntables was a buzzing noise that vaguely sounded like a techno beat. At 9:15, with a heavy heart, we made our way back to home base at Spin, saddened that we didn't get to hear La Kier on the decks. *sigh*
Back in the Spin neck of the woods, we heard Cathy Richardson jamming on stage with a great band. Her powerful voice has all the familiar qualities of the female singers we know, yet she puts a brilliant spin on the Neo-folk (yes, I'm coining that word if nobody else will) sound out there. She's definitely one to pay attention to.
Speaking of powerful women, Toby Lightman is really shaking things up on the female vocalist scene. There are pop stars and there are singers. Toby's vocal presence is, first and foremost, that of a singer. "Little Things" is a collection of soulful rock that is somewhere between R&B and folk music. The vocals are definitely in the R&B range of things, but the acoustic guitar riffs and leads in nearly every song are comforting in a down-home way.
There isn't time to single out individual tracks except one. Track 7, "Little Thing", is a masterful production of a cappella vocals. The greatest thing about this track, and the album in general, is that ALL vocals are done by Miss Lightman. So when you're hearing six or seven people singing harmony together, it's all her. A testament to the brilliance of her voice and the magic of a good producer. "Little Things" is a journey, so rare in the album world, that you want to stick with from start to finish.
With you in 4/4,