Does anyone need a reason to set up a tribute show? It may have been because Stevie Nicks is currently on tour – in my neighborhood, she will play the Hollywood Bowl on October 3 and the best garden seats are over $2,000 which tells a lot about her icon status – or simply because the organizer Jean Luc Eldenwood was celebrating his birthday, but Gold-Diggers, the unassuming but completely renovated and historic dive-bar/hotel/club/recording studio on Santa Monica Boulevard, was the site of a Stevie Nicks tribute on Sunday night.
A large gathering of Los Angeles singer-songwriters had come together to honor the songwriting of the “goddess.” The task was to interpret a song written by Stevie Nicks, whether the song was featured on a Fleetwood Mac album or one of her solo albums, and, as it was demonstrated yesterday, it takes a lot of people to show all the facets of Stevie Nicks. If most of the performers were female, there were a few men who bravely took the task to sing and honor the icon of the ‘70s.
Besides Weyes Blood, who has become one of my obsessions since the release of her sublime “Titanic Rising,” I didn’t know most of the performers of the night, but it was an occasion to discover the richness of the LA music scene.
Sob Sister performed “Angel,” a song off the 1979 double album “Tusk,” with the eeriness of Fleetwood Mac, while Cassandra Violet channeled her inner Stevie with a sexy rendition of “Gold Dust Woman,” the final track of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 “Rumours,” and she even added some whistling. Malena Cadiz’s cover of “Gypsy,” (off the 1982 album “Mirage”) was a bit soberer but the tremolos in her vocals and vintage dress were right on. For her rendition of “Sisters of the Moon,” actress and singer Ava Delaney injected some real pipes, mixed with swagger while the band went ballistic during the finale. During the entire night, the house band consisted of Jay Rudolph on drums, Nic Dinucci on bass, Jean-Luc Eldenwood on keys, and the amazing Meernaa on guitar.
Henry Wolfe, another brave guy who was part of the lineup, covered “Long Distance Winner,” and his performance was at the image of his choice: a rather low-key one as I would place the 1973 song in the deep cuts. Brianna Falcone sat down to play guitar while singing a slow and melancholic version of “Crystal,” a song first recorded with Lindsey Buckingham on the 1973 “Buckingham Nicks” album and recorded again, after they joined Fleetwood Mac for the 1975 self-titled album. On a much more familiar note, Johanna Samuels performed “Rhiannon,” with a witchy appeal, and everyone’s shy sing along
There also was a quiet version of “Storms” by Olivia Kaplan, and a harmonizing duo between Sahara Grim and Katie Ward for another deep cut, “Wild Heart,” the title track of Stevie Nicks’s 1983 solo album. Using a loop pedal to record her voice, Kiah Victoria invested all the intensity of her powerhouse for an astonishing version of the beloved “Landslide,” a staple of Fleetwood Mac’s repertoire. Kacey Johansing went full country with “That’s Alright,” a song off Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album “Mirage,” but written by Stevie Nicks in 1974 and showcasing her baby roots as a country singer. Jean-Luc Eldenwood himself had picked “Sara,” which he performed with a sort of Perfume Genius’ eerie voice above his Korg organ. Will Fox and a bunch of women performed “Dreams” (another staple off Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album “Rumours”) with a smoky tone of voice, and finally, the luminous Weyes Blood appeared which made people push against the stage to see her. She was obviously the star of the night besides Stevie Nicks. “I will try my best,” she said before singing a voluptuous and airy version of “Silver Springs,” a song first intended to be included on “Rumours” and then released on the B-side of the album’s lead single “Go Your Own Way.”
The night was short, with 14 songs by 14 different performers, but it was a pleasant way to end the weekend, especially if you think that these $2,000 tickets at the Hollywood Bowl are out of your reach.
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