Theresa Andersson and Papa Mali's Stoned Soul Picnic
April 26, 2007
BY JASON SONGE
I'm enjoying the more experimental direction Theresa Andersson and her band have recently taken. On Thursday night at the Howlin' Wolf, Andersson opened up for Henry Butler and Little Feat and was backed by guitarist/accordionist Andy Wagner, guitarist Matt Martin, bassist Alex Smith, and drummer Arthur Mintz. The great thing about Andersson's recent forays into sound is that she's been able to push the envelope while still being accessible.
But, I guess even that's too generalized. I never quite know which Theresa is gonna show up, and that's a great thing. Are we gonna get the noisy, rockin' Theresa, the plaintive, delicate Theresa, or the spacious, challenging, and subtle Theresa? Andersson's ability to change personalities on a dime has to also be atrributed to her crack band. For these guys, it's about the song, not them. The mature touch that they bring to the music gives me much hope for the future of Andersson's music in general.
I've heard that Andersson has been practicing three to four hours a day, and if that's true, it certainly shows in her violin playing. She's sprier and swifter and more virtuostic in her solos, that's for sure.
The coolest part of the set was when each member approached the mic and offered up a vocal rhythm that was layered on top of each other person's rhythm. The band spent about five minutes at the mic before they retreated to their positions and played the next song, which was complemented by the new rhythms. When the band was still at the mic, it felt like I was looking in from the outside, but once they went back to their instruments, I felt like I was part of the experiment.
I don't have much to say about the Stoned Soul Picnic except that it was pretty cool seeing all those awesome musicians(Troy Andrews, Big Sam, Kirk Joseph, Kevin O'Day, Stanton Moore, Skerik, Henry Butler) on the same stage together. Especially when snare drummer Moore and bass drummer O'Day created beats together for five minutes. Smooth like butter. As the night got later and later, Papa Mali got more and more into his own dark, psychedelic, voodoo funk. Some of that stuff, espcially with just the red light shining down, was pretty evil.