We Got Nothing But Night

When David Garza announced on the afternoon of Saturday, April 2, 2016, that he was planning a set with some guests in The Little Room at Largo at the Coronet that night, I made my plans to attend, though none of my friends could make the last minute show.  It was a small, but appreciative audience that night. I love the intimacy of this room, where sitting in the front you can feel the vibrations created by the instruments flowing right off the stage. I apologize in advance for the lack of thorough information on this show. I probably should have stayed at the end and chatted with some of the musicians, who were mingling with audience members after the show, to clarify some things. Hindsight is 20/20.

The first guest, who opened the show, hailed from Norway.  Egil Olsen tenderly sang and played guitar on a couple of his original songs, “Ooo What Happened,” off his album of the same name, and “Find a Way.” He remarked that the latter tune had “been on Norwegian radio 30 or 40 times.”  David accompanied him on the piano.

David then introduced Hayley Coupon, who sang a few songs in a vocal style and attitude that I imagined would be what Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character in Hudsucker Proxy would sound like if she sang.  It was jazzy and clear with a matter-of-fact, yet emotionally aware attitude. Sebastian Steinberg joined them on bass and was on and off the stage throughout the night. Not sure what the songs were titled that they performed here, and I’m going to hazard a guess it was some of her original material. The first song mentioned Los Angeles a couple times.  David then moved to guitar and they played a song with the line “winter had come to stay.” I liked the chord progressions on this one. David then moved back to the piano for the song “Bring Out the Madness,” which may not be the official title, but if it isn’t, it should be.  Check out Hayley’s Soundcloud page to hear songs from her EP Do the Right Thing, Like You Said You Would. As an aside, I’d love to hear her sing a song with Postmodern Jukebox. Scott Bradlee, make it so.

David then called his guitar-playing friend Harper Simon onto the stage and the pair played “Waiting On a Friend.”  The two then played what David described as a “New York night in the style of the Everly Brothers,” which turned out to be a dreamy duet of Blondie’s song “Dreaming.” Next, David got stompy with the song “Got My Mojo Workin’,” originally popularized by Muddy Waters, as the duo played some sweet blues riffs on their guitars. The audience got their mojos working too, as David encouraged us to repeat the refrain back to him. I was waiting for Harper to lead a song, but he never did. Next time, please?

The day before the show, David had released on album on Bandcamp called April Fool. He played two songs from it that night– “That Love” and “Tall Drink of Woman.”  Check out the link to stream/buy those songs (and the rest of the album). It still holds what I have said before, I like David’s music more and more every time I hear him. He is an astute songwriter, such a thoughtful player on piano or guitar (and riveting when he launches into Spanish-style playing), and he perfectly crafts his vocals for each song.

David had another guest, Mitre, an intense balladeer whether singing in Spanish or English, with an equally fabulous pompadour. The first song he sang in Spanish with a few lines in English was called “Lloro.” The heartbreaking lyrics I caught were “love has no guarantee” and at the end “there is no reason left to live.” Did he kill the audience with that song? Not quite, I was left still breathing, though barely, after having my soul crushed in two languages. Mitre and David then performed a spine-tingling version of the Elvis Presley song, “It’s Now or Never.” Mitre performed one more in Spanish with another singer, I think David called her Alih.

“We’re winding down, we have time for about 18 more…” joked David as Hayley joined him again on stage. They gave a sweet interpretation of Elvis Costello’s song “Alison” (and in one of those quirky coincidences that keep happening to me in relation to music, I was to see Elvis Costello in concert the following night and he performed “Alison” solo acoustic).  David played guitar while Hayley sang another song, with the tough-as-nails break-up line, “In the morning I’ll be coming just to leave.” David returned to the piano to accompany Hayley as she finished her time on stage with a beautiful cover of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock.”

I loved hearing David enthusiastically play his groovy song “Disco Ball World” from his album This Euphoria. I absolutely dig that album and recommend people at least listen to a few of the tracks on YouTube, if not buying it outright. Then David encouraged Grant-Lee Phillips to take the stage. Grant-Lee had dropped into the Little Room after appearing in the main stage Largo show Spontaneanation earlier that night.  Grant-Lee borrowed David’s guitar and performed the moving song “Mona Lisa” from his album Virginia Creeper. He then brought out a tune from his new album The Narrows titled “San Andreas Fault.” To close the show, David shared a song written about Largo, “Black and Tan.” I’ve borrowed a line from it for the title of the blog, because when I attend a Largo show, this is exactly how I feel: “We got nothing but night.”





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