All hell breaks loose as homegrown talent Luce, The Ponies work GAMH

The Ponies closing things down at Great American Music Hall on September 5th

The Ponies closing things down at Great American Music Hall on September 5th

By Tom Dellinger //

The Ponies, Luce with New American Farmers, Melissa Phillips and James DePrato //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
September 5th, 2014 //

It was a stunning evening of all local artists/bands at the Great American Music Hall this past Friday night with a bill that brought together many of the writers and musicians we see working routinely about the bay area music scene. It was a glimpse into the musical richness that has historically defined San Francisco.

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Opening the evening was talented writer and singer Melissa Phillips, a solid writer and performer who’s been steadily building a fan base both here and abroad. Joined by 3/4 of Chuck Prophet’s Mission Express (James DePrato, Kevin T. White and Vicente Rodriguez), they delivered a set of many of her excellent tunes. Phillips is an indie artist well worth going out to see and hear.

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New American Farmers (formerly Mars, Arizona) took the energy up a bit as they brought their country flavored tunes to the stage. Joined by Dave Zirbel on pedal steel, Nigel Phillips on drums and Kevin T White on bass, Paul M Knowles and his partner in song, Nicole Storto doled out a healthy serving of rich harmonies as they featured many of the songs on their latest offering, The Farmacology Sessions. Solid songwriting, sharp as a tack vocals and an excellent band behind them made their set one of the most memorable of the night.

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All hell broke loose as Luce took the stage in the #3 slot. Known for having extended periods of time between live performances, on Friday, they played a tight, high energy set; the kind that constant touring can sometimes create. Tom Luce was in excellent form vocally and appeared (pardon the pun)….loose and comfortable. Relaxed and ready to deliver. The band too, felt like they were wound up like a coil and as soon as the set started, one could sense the release of that coil. The crowd responded in kind as a party atmosphere quickly took over. It must be pointed out that Dylan Brock on guitar is not only one of the most enjoyable players to watch, but he’s also a player with remarkable technique and instincts; all on full display on Friday night.

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Closing out the evening, once again, James DePrato returned as he joined Elliot Randall and Heather Combs with a newly formed band, The Ponies. It’s unfortunate the crowd thinned out after Luce’s set because there was much more to enjoy from the Ponies as they delivered a compelling performance. A set that was punctuated with multiple high points from DePrato’s guitar, they served to drive home the engaging songs from this band. With a solid early start, this band shows a lot of potential and hopefully we’ll be seeing more from them in the future.

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