July 09, 2005
It was a perfect night to extend the set list and try out new material. On a Summer weekend night that saw some New Orleanians taking vacations from the possibility of hurricane Dennis, singer/songwriter Blair Gimma and drummer Adam Campagna played 25 songs in front of 25 people at Carrollton Station.
In the middle of the set the duo played a host of Neil Young covers, and then they went back to the original material. It consisted of many love problems and love lost. Knowing that Gimma had played with a full band in the past possibly made it too easy to over-analyze the results of only using a drummer for accompaniment. At least the heart of the songs shone an enjoyable light. They would have been good enough no matter how they were played. Gimma's voice was the strongest part of each song. The next step is for Gimma to get the instrumental quality of each song on par with her voice's.
Back to the accompaniment issue. The duo idea was not a problem most of the time. At moments Campagna's ride cymbal threatened to drown out Gimma's acoustic guitar, but his volume also added nice color against Gimma's soft-spoken but emotionally charged musings. Dead if you do and dead if you don't.
During the less driving songs, the drums couldn't have been there and everything would have been fine. Still, props must be given to Campagna for adding personality with different, spur-of-the-moment switched drum approaches. During the funkier, rockingest songs, the duo could have used a bassist to shake some booties. Also, a xylophone would have been ideal to flesh out the sweet and innocent tone of Gimma's songs.
It's great to see Gimma taking a chance with a new line-up, no matter how it works out. Here's to her keeping that exploratory spirit alive.