Posted February 11, 2014 by Gerard O'Sullivan in Show Reviews

California Honeydrops // 1-31-14 // Mississippi Studios

California Honeydrops

California Honeydrops

Mississippi Studios was packed early for the sold out show Friday night, leaving several people stranded outside searching for a last minute miracle ticket.  Portland’s own, the Jackalope Saints, kicked things off with their boot-stomping, string-fueled performance.  The audience/band interaction was clear right from the start and the crowd was in for a long night (5+ hours) of crowd participation and dancing.  Jackalope Saints was celebrating the release of their newest record, Illuminations of the Mystery Tradition.

This talented quartet is armed with a bevy of acoustic instruments, including a mandolin, guitars, and upright bass, with several members rotating between instruments.  Their set concluded with an assault of horn instruments with several members picking up an array of brass instruments and inviting up members of California Honeydrops and other musicians in the audience including Noah Bernstein of local duo, Gammies.  A quick setbreak allowed the audience to fuel up on water/booze (they would need it) before the headliner promptly took over for the remainder of the evening.

California Honeydrops took the stage at 10 pm and it was clear from the first notes that the audience was ready to swoon to the soulful blues that this Bay area band was set to deliver.  Califronia Honeydrops began their career in Oakland’s subway stations and it’s clear that these humble beginnings helped this band learn how to truly engage an audience.

Throughout their nearly four-hour set, the band’s leader and front man, Lech Wierzynski, displayed his vocal ability, whether engaging the crowd in story time or belting out soulful ballads.  This band’s tightness was held together with the driving rhythms of drummer and founding member Ben Malament.

I walked out of the venue shortly before 2 am with the band still rocking and the majority of the audience still in attendance, I like to think that party continued for another couple of hours. Either way, I will be eagerly anticipating the California Honeydrops’ return to our fair city.

Gerard O'Sullivan



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