Captain Ivory brought an outstanding line-up of Michigan music to celebrate the release of their new album, No Vacancy.
Hidden below Bona Sera restaurant in Ypsilanti is a fantastic underground space. Captain Ivory choose this special setting as a stop on the No Vacancy tour to celebrate the album release with their Michigan fans.
Detroit’s own Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils opens the evening’s entertainment with their brand of rocking country music. From the first note, Jennifer and the band sound outstanding. Jennifer’s soulful voice has just the right mix of grit and vibrato to penetrate your soul. The band is tight, and the guitar playing of Dylan Dunbar is dynamite as he moves from country twang to dirty blues. Their set is short but well received.
Combine upbeat country music with lyrical content about vampires, mummies, and Big Foot and you get Fangs and Twang. These guys from Ypsilanti music reinvent the time-honored tradition of great storytelling through country music. Their tongue in cheek approach to songs such as “Part Time Vampire”, “Transylvania, TN”, and “American Bigfoot” have the crowd hooting and hollering. This band is a rip-roaring good time.
The underground at Bona Sera is full of fans brimming with anticipation as Captain Ivory get on stage for a quick sound check, which turns into nearly a full tune. With the levels good, the band launches into the title track, “No Vacancy,” from their new album. The crowd surges up close to feel the full energy of the band. Captain Ivory is smoking hot. The energy level is palpable and rises with each successive song in the set.
The focus of the music is on the new album with “Comedown”, “Broken Light”, “Skinning the Hand” and “Paper Towns” making it into the set. The new music sounds great live and stays faithful to the recorded version. This is a testimony to the immense musical skills of Captain Ivory. The bass playing of Brett Smith is on par with the work of John Paul Jones. He is a real entertainer. Taking his bass out into the crowd to engage and entertain.
Seth Maschari is a fantastic musician who combines intangible swing with phenomenal technical prowess. When Captain Ivory plays “Never Mine”, Seth’s drumming burns with brilliance. The vigorous heart of the band lies with Robbie Bolog (guitar) and Jayson Traver (guitar/vocals). Robbie handles a bulk of the lead work lighting up “No Vacancy” and whipping out some sleazy slide guitar on “Six Minutes To Midnight” from their self-titled debut album. Jayson is no slouch on the guitar, but it is his gritty blues-soaked vocals that add a secret spice, which makes Captain Ivory a joy to listen to and a magnanimous live band.
Captain Ivory sprinkled in a couple of great covers with the jazz-fusion of “Stratus” by Billy Cobham and the bitching funk of “Cissy Strut” by The Meters. It is a sure thing that the crowd would be happy if the band kept playing on through the night. Sadly all good things must come to an end and with cheers reverberating through the underground lair of Bona Sera, Captain Ivory wishes us all a good night. As the echo from the amplifiers ring inside our heads, we savor Captain Ivory’s gift of rock and roll.