Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Charlie Faye & The Fayettes at The Hotel Café, 10-25-16 Concert Review

Charlie Faye & The Fayettes performing "One More Chance"
Sometimes nothing feels better than some good, sweet girl group vocals. And last night was one of those times, with Charlie Faye & The Fayettes bringing their special brand of pop and rock to the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. They focused on tracks from their self-titled debut album, which came out this summer, opening with “Sweet Little Messages.” Such a fun song, and a palpable joy immediately emanated from the stage, completely washing away the craziness from a little earlier.

See, on the way to the venue, as I was crossing the street, in a crosswalk, a driver decided not to wait for me, or even stop, or even slow down, and went in front of me to make a right turn. That driver parked half a block down, and had enough trouble parallel parking that I actually caught up with him before he’d straightened his vehicle out. “Hey, please don’t barrel through a red light when someone is in a crosswalk,” I said to the driver. “It’s not safe.” He was very nice and understanding, said “Okay,” but as I was walking away, his boyfriend in the passenger seat started yelling at me. So I turned around and walked right up to him. “What, are you crazy?” he said. “Maybe,” I answered. Who’s to say? These days I think we’re all a little mad. “Well, maybe I am too, bitch,” he said. Yeah, probably. And speaking of crazy, earlier in the day in a store this woman kept staring at me. You know those cheap rain ponchos that folks bring to baseball games and then throw away? She was wearing one of those, and a pair of those clear plastic gloves that employees at Subway wear when they’re making your sandwich. And nothing else. But don’t worry, my fashion consultant assures me this look will not catch on.

The Fayettes wore solid bright colors, totally in line with the positive, fun vibes of their 1960s-style music. They followed “Sweet Little Messages” with another tune from the CD, “Loving Names.” They then did their first cover of the night, Otis Blackwell’s “Let’s Talk About Us,” a song that Jerry Lee Lewis also famously recorded, and they did a great job with it. After that, Charlie Faye put down her Gretsch guitar to focus solely on vocals for the next few tunes. Well, vocals and some choreographed movements with the Fayettes – BettySoo and Akina Adderley. On “Eastside,” one of the most fun songs from the album, the gals had some adorable moves, really calling to mind those vocal groups of the 1960s. When they sang “I-I-I,” on each “I,” one of them turned, creating a kind of wave effect. Plus, that song featured some great guitar work by Marcus Watkins. They followed that with “One More Chance,” one of my favorites from the album.

Perhaps the most surprising song choice of their set was their cover of The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.” Apparently, they’ve been performing it for a little while, but this was the first time I saw them in concert, and it came as a delightful surprise to me. And of course it was completely effective. After all, though it’s a punk song, it was written in the style of early 1960s surf music.

Charlie got her guitar again for “Heart,” another tune from the CD. There was very little stage banter during the set, but Charlie did introduce the two Fayettes before going into “See You Again.” They did a good cover of “Chains,” beginning it a cappella (well, accompanied by some finger snaps). This song also featured some good stuff on keys. “Chains” was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and was originally recorded by The Cookies (and also by The Beatles). They followed that with “It’s All Happening” before wrapping up their set with the opening track from the album, the absolutely delightful “Green Light.” For this one, Charlie put down the guitar for some more coordinated movements with the Fayettes. The show ended at 9:44 p.m.

Set List
  1. Sweet Little Messages
  2. Loving Names
  3. Let’s Talk About Us
  4. Eastside
  5. One More Chance
  6. Rockaway Beach
  7. Heart
  8. See You Again
  9. Chains
  10. It’s All Happening
  11. Green Light 
Here are a few photos from their set:

"Sweet Little Messages"

The Hotel Café is located at 1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in Los Angeles.

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