On a rainy and miserable Wednesday night in Rochester at Abilene Bar and Lounge, ladies night was in full effect. Memphis bred singer/songwriter and sometime actress Amy Lavere and Buffalo’s Savannah King provided duel cannons of estrogen enforced sun-laden excellence much to the glee of the packed house despite the contradictory weather patterns.
Abilene is somewhat new to Rochester, having opened in 2008 and has provided a much needed eclectic alternative to the typical local music scene. Owner/operator Danny Deutsch is far more likely to be serving you a delicious microbrew or unique liquor concoction from behind the bar instead of sitting in an office shuffling papers. They have a knack for picking popular niche artists and marketing themselves appropriately to bring the masses down to boogie.
The night started at the advertised time (another rarity in the local scene) with Savannah King hitting the stage at promptly 8:30 PM. She wasted no time, opening with an unexpected acoustic one-woman version of the Black Sabbath gem “War Pigs” as the crowd “gathered in their masses”. Savannah is bursting with talent at the ripe old age of 19 and shows true dedication to her art through pursuing a degree in the music field at SUNY Fredonia and traveling anywhere a show calls her name. Appearing alone on stage with an acoustic, her vocals are fluid with a jazzy melody which might bring comparisons to well known artists anywhere from Jewel to Carole King. Adding in her skillful six-string talents gave the crowd one excellent opening act. Her set was cover heavy and diverse, including the aforementioned Sabbath Cover, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and songs by The Tragically Hip and fellow Buffalonian Ani DiFranco. Interspersed between the covers were a handful of originals showcasing a burgeoning artist with a nose for melody and whimsical expression.
After a quick break, Amy took the stage. She tours with drummer and former boyfriend Paul Taylor on drums and recently acquired guitarist/keyboardist Tim Regan. Her style is a mix of bluesy folk and jazz with a sprinkle of rockabilly. Beyond singing, Amy plays an upright bass which despite towering over her petite figure she has full command of. Between many songs she entertained the spellbound audience with stories and toasts which gave the set an exquisite flow. Featuring originals from albums such as Stranger Me and Died of Love and a smattering of covers she delivered a top notch experience to the Abilene crowd. Beyond pleasing the peoples aural cavities, they all appeared to desire a pristine ocular view as this reporter was asked to move several times despite maintaining a low profile.
At one point during the evening, Amy politely excused herself from the stage and guitarist Tim Regan offered up a tasty original of his own. Amy soon returned with the crowd favorite “Damn Love Song” which was one of the highlights of the evening. Other highlights included a nice take on David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and an end of show moment where both ladies graced the stage for a fun rendition of the Willie Dixon classic “Wang Dang Doodle”. Overall an excellent experience from two artists determined to take it to the top.
This was Amy’s 5th visit to Abilene so watch for her coming back in the future. Catch Savannah’s next show May 10th at the Pausa Art House in Buffalo at 8PM.