Review: Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey of the dB's, Euclid Records, Sunday, February 1

Writer Mike Appelstein headed over to Euclid Records on Sunday afternoon to check out the performance by Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey. He had some nice things to say:

The original dB's have reformed and played a few gigs here and there. I've yet to see them, but I was certainly ready to give the acoustic duo a second chance. It should be no surprise that they were fantastic.  They were clearly at ease with, trading jokes with and enjoying the Sunday afternoon crowd.  There were some familiar songs - a bunch from the Mavericks duo album, "Nothing Is Wrong" from Repercussions, Stamey's solo "Something Came Over Me," and a wonderful downtempo version of "Black and White" - but the new and otherwise unfamiliar songs did not disappoint, either.  They even snuck in a Euclid Records jingle.  Great show all around. So how about bringing Gene and Will for a full-fledged dB's set next time?  And tell your old friends the Feelies to visit, too.

I second Mike's assertion about the Feelies (and the dB's, for that matter), and about how much fun the duo had performing. I caught Holsapple and Stamey on Saturday night at a house party, and they were just as fantastic and loose. They bookended the set with two Everly Brothers covers, although the real gem was a psych-folk version of the Byrds' "Here Without You," a song penned by Springfield, Missouri native Gene Clark. Haunting doesn't begin to describe the pair's harmonies on this tune; their voices weaved together like a mournful elegy.

Of course, Holsapple and Stamey have been in bands since they were teenagers, so this synergy is to be expected. It's also probably why they were able to figure out a few songs on the fly -- and why they ribbed each other good-naturedly about Stamey leaving the dB's for a solo career or Holsapple's penchant for melancholy songs.

dB's chestnuts "If And When," and "I'm In Love" made appearances, as did crowd faves "Neverland," "Black and White," "Big Brown Eyes" and a slower, country-fied "Amplifier." The duo performed the Stamey solo song "Cara Lee" -- a stripped-back, solid version -- and the best from their 1991 album Mavericks ("I Want to Break Your Heart," "Geometry" and "The Child In You" stood out). A bunch of new material slated for their May-released duo album, Here and Now (which is due on Bar/None in a few months) fit in seamlessly with the older material. This is a testament to the pair's consistency as much as it is their talent.

The pair also performed at Off Broadway last night. I took photos on Saturday, but my camera cord is MIA for the moment. (Sigh.)

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