A naive onlooker might well have thought that the thousands of people in front of the main stage were there for Saturday night’s second to last act of the night, Mama Lenny and the Remedy, rather than just waiting for Alison Krauss and Union Station. It would be very intimidating, for me, anyway, to be playing right before a 12 time Grammy Award winning celebrity (heck, I get intimidated whenever I think about the idea that complete strangers actually might READ my blog posts). For a relatively new musical act, though, getting a chance to borrow Alison Krauss’s audience for an hour would be lovely, and
from the looks on their faces, the guys and gals of Mama Lenny and the Remedy were loving this chance to perform for a packed audience of at least several thousand people. This group pretty much adopted the huge crowd before them and no doubt left the festival with a lot of new fans and enthusiasts. Actually, considering the sound-related difficulties the festival technicians had when it came Alison’s turn to sing, it was fortunate that the band preceding her was so good- folks may not have been able to hear Alison’s rather soft voice over the crowd, but these folks at least thoroughly enjoyed the band just before hers. If this weekend’s performance was any indication, in a few years Mama Lenny and the Remedy may well be the headliner, and drawing such big crowds all on their own.
The audience wasn’t just there, either, but was loudly appreciative, their applause at least equal to the intensity of this group’s performance. I loved the grins bouncing back and forth between Laniece Micek-Schleicher (“Mama Lenny”), and the rest of her group. And of course, a huge enthusiastic audience added quite a lot of energy for musicians to draw on.
This group’s first album, Punches and Hugs, captures the sound of a high-quality bluesy soul ensemble, but after the incredible dynamics these guys achieved on the New West Fest main stage, it took a few days of letting the memories fade before I could listen to their album recordings without comparing them unfavorably to their live renditions.
In other words, these guys sound really good on their album, but 300x better live. I think most blues/soul/jazz, and most music just in general really, sounds better live. This group in particular is well worth seeing live. They seem to thrive on applause and cheering, and they not only sound great, they look great too and they seemed to be having a blast.
Not every show can draw an Alison Krauss sized audience, but I am sure that Mama Lenny and the Remedy will be just as fun at their smaller upcoming shows. In the meantime download their album via itunes, or at least give it a listen via spotify.