Maple Leaf Bar
The Kevin O'Day Trio
October 18, 2005
Maple Leaf's performance room was lit by a red lightbulb and some Christmas lights surrounding the bar's logo, which was mounted on the back wall. Saxophonist Eric Traub played in darkness away from the red light, while the audience was lit by the bar to their right. Traub's sleek and romantic midnight tones went well with the black. Seems like it's weird to have the sax be the lead instrument in a trio(no funky guitar?!), but Traub pulled it off. He provided percussive notes and repetitive lines that created structures for the impromptu songs. Along with Traub, drummer Kevin O'Day and bassist Reggie Scanlan played a recognizable Mardi Gras tune, but the rest of the songs were jams. The trio got things going at the beginning of the songs by building off of a bass line or beat. Solos were taken often, and every song was an enjoyable, danceable ditty. These guys were definetely in tune with one another. They followed each other's speed and volume, but even better, they were confident enough in themselves to abruptly get soft or start a solo with no warning. Somebody's gotta be the leader, and normally that person was O'Day.
It was rare for the band to play a flurry of notes and get really loud. Sure, O'Day was his usual cymbal-destroying, monstrous self, but the trio was more about elemental grooves. The only problem I had with the concert was when Scanlan started noodling, but that didn't happen often. Scanlan and O'Day provided the canvas, and Traub provided the color. Beautifully fun stuff, really.
O'Day is planning to name the group after his defunct group, The Live Animals. About fifteen people stood on the dancefloor, while a respectable number chilled at the bar. There was no cover, only a suggested donation.