Friday, May 29, 2009 at 9:27 a.m.
Imagine, if you will, stepping into a friend's house... Except it's filled with people you don't know (yet), and this friend built a bar around his kitchen, and set up track lighting and a half-dozen hightop tables in the dining room. That place would be Downtown Phoenix's The Lost Leaf
, which hosted New York band The Rosewood Thieves
in a cozy, familiar fashion last night.
From the second they started the first tune, The Rosewood Thieves had people playing air-guitar, air-drums and tapping their feet. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Erick Jordan, continues to emulate John Lennon, not only in vocal talent, but in the instrument he plays: A natural finish Epiphone Casino with the pickgaurd removed... just like Lennon during the late Beatle years and onward.
By the time The Thieves started their second song, "Flat Tire," the room was already filling up, even though most of the crowd was gathered around the bar and at the front of The Lost Leaf, barely batting an eye at the kick-ass, sometimes raucous tunes the band had to offer. But those in the thick of it (And by thick of it, I mean the 15 by 10 space between the end of the bar and the side door), really enjoyed and were even enthralled by this New York ensemble.
Sitting literally ON the performance space, I couldn't help but notice that that Erick Jordan and I were wearing the same shoes (white, hi-top Chuck Taylors if you were curious). That's how close an experience The Lost Leaf offers. I also noticed that, as a classy group, The Rosewood Thieves do not down beer on stage. Nay. They prefer sipping a nifty white wine.
By the time the band reached their last set of songs, beginning with inarguably their most popular song, "Los Angeles," Erick proclaimed the group was "tired as shit," but that didn't stop every member of The Rosewood Thieves from having a rocking good time, and it was damn noticeable. From Mark, the drummer, slamming his soul out, to Mackenzie on the organ, adding a unique sound to the band, the gang was certainly excited to be there, despite the sleep deprivation.
The small performance space didn't stop them from bringing the house down, like it would have many other acts that have attracted as much national attention as they have as of late.
Also, local act Man About A Dog
opened for The Thieves in the homey venue, and cracked jokes in between songs like "How many Mormons does it take to screw in a lightbulb? ... One. Mormons aren't that weird." They were a great compliment to the headliner, revving up the 21-plus (and I mean PLUS) crowd with a mellotron, semi-hollow bass and a classic, smooth Fender Telecaster.
I'll be honest with you, when I ventured into The Lose Leaf, my expectations were not very high, considering its size... But it's just like walking into your buddy's garage and stumbling into a flawless jam session.
Last Night: The Rosewood Thieves and Man About A Dog at The Lost Leaf.
Better Than: Other national acts who have a tendency to phone-it-in on their trip to The Valley.
Personal Bias: As I mentioned, The Rosewood Thieves' lead singer, Erick Jordan, sounds a LOT like John Lennon, my personal favorite musician.
Random Detail: There was an older gentleman sitting at the bar wearing a Woodstock shirt... who looked like he felt like he was still at that show.
Further Listening: The Rosewood Thieves recently came out with an album of Solomon Burke covers, "Heartaches By The Pound."
By The Way: Four out of the six band members on stage performed double-duty, the oddest one being Mackenzie on Keyboard and Maracas.
One More Thing: There were a few "hot mic" problems throughout the set, most notably during their final song.