I first heard about Mae Simpson a few months ago when the band was booked to play the “Big Show” for IPR’s Live Sound and Show Production finals. My daughter kept telling me how cool and great to work with the band was. Their set at that event left me impressed, so I decided to check out their EP release at the Icehouse. “Feel it Comin’ “ is the group’s debut release.
The set started with the stripped down “Z28” with just Simpson, guitarist Jorgen Wadkins, and Percussionist Ricardo Romero on stage. It was a nice bluesy intro to the band, before they crowded the stage and shifted into high gear. As Simpson put it: “We start nice and easy, and then hit you in the face”. Fans needed only a little urging to get out of their seats and cozy up to the stage.
The smaller stage limited Simpson’s room to roam the stage but did nothing to diminish her stage presence or the energy that filled the venue. What I really enjoyed about this band is how they blend different styles into their songs and make it feel natural. There were moments reminiscent of James Brown, there were hip hop elements, and good old fashioned funk. Through the set there was a sense of gratitude for their fans and pride in what they have accomplished with their EP. This is a pretty new band – less than a year together and they sound tight. Keep an eye out for Mae Simpson – you’ll be seeing a lot more of them.
Set List: Z28 / Run / Bring Sally / They Ain’t / Words / Bite Me / Don’t / Bills / Special / Train / Let Her Go / Wrong Side
“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Well, it was more like “How do you follow an act like Mae Simpson” for Dead Larry. They certainly were not shy about it, taking the stage just before midnight. It’s hard to classify them. Psychedelic, Funk, Pop, Rock? Let’s blend them together for a kick ass live show. Whatever exhaustion fans may have felt was blown away as the crowd rocked and danced to Dead Larry’s infectious music.