By Gina Lopez //
Something wonderful happened in Washington, D.C., recently. No, Sam Chase wasn’t made an official presidential candidate, but he and his band, The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, did bring much-needed good cheer to our nation’s frazzled capital and throughout the East Coast — from New York to the Deep South — during their first East Coast tour.
Luckily for the Bay Area, The Sam Chase & The Untraditional returned just in time to give us one last rollicking performance before Election Day. It was billed as a birthday/pre-election/potential apocalypse show. Those of us who were at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma last Friday can be satisfied if we never see another show again.
Ismay opened the night with her ethereal folk sound, reciting lyrics so powerful they could lift you above the din of the crowd. Then, The Crux came sailing in on their pirate punk ship. All hands were on deck as ringleader Josh Windmiller brought a taste of vaudeville back to the historic Northern California venue with a festive set that included a whimsical instrumental accompaniment to a lederhosen-wearing mime sword-swallower. During the set, double bass player Melissa Leigh, also of Token Girl, got the spotlight for a soulful song of hers that could blow the toupee right off of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s head.
At last, the swashbuckler birthday boy himself and his band took the stage, headlining the Mystic for the first time and forever being sealed into the theater’s mystique. And song after song, the energy kept rising.
All night long, Chase, with his charismatic charm, had the crowd stomping their boots and tipping their bartenders. And thanks, at least in part to him, voter turnout for the live-music-loving demographic should be up significantly this year, as he encouraged the crowd to head to the polls on November 8th.
For the grand finale, Chase invited all the members of Ismay and The Crux to join him and his bandmates for one last spirited song. But after the last note, the band remained onstage for a surprise, all-American rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” that was complete with red, white and blue stage lights. It was a fitting send-off into the next four years.