The jazz club. It’s a venue as old as time; bands play all night while you get drunk off wine and shots filled with regret. Enter The Arielle Deem Band. This group of LA hepcats are re-inventing the modern jazz concert. Arielle uses a looping machine to accentuate her watery vocals while the band plays on. And on. Long, semi-improvised musical interludes that last for minutes at a time and mini-dance floor parties that passes love from musician to audience.
Such was the scene at Guilt & Co., an underground jazz bar in Gastown where one can order Octopus in a Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce from their menu of relative oddities. Earlier, Arielle “I’m not a Mermaid” and her band of merry men had appeared on my podcast and performed a few lovely tracks in our very cramped little studio.
It was, in many ways, a tour de force performance. Arielle has a certain suave effortlessness and a tonal quality that reminds me of a young Sarah McLachlan. Her looping machine creates an even more unique effect that further pushes her into the modern ethos.
Her live show at Guilt & Co. was even better. Though Stephanie and I had to leave before the third set in order to catch the last train, we enjoyed almost two full hours of sultry yet playful bebop and scat. Arielle and the boys like to have fun and it shows in their performance on stage. Rarely have I seen a singer so free in her act.
Perhaps my favourite part of our encounter with the Arielle Deem band was extolling the virtues of Tim Horton’s. Being from Los Angeles, they were unfamiliar with our double-doubles and Iced Caps. When we left the venue, Arielle told us that they were going to visit it when they left the hotel in the morning before they began the drive to Seattle. I should follow up with her on that. Also, hope they went to Mighty O’s Donuts in East Seattle. Best Donut Shop in existence. And I was just talking about Tim Horton’s.
But I should really get back to the music, because that’s why y’all are here anyway (at least I hope so). It was effervescent and ethereal. A laid back, playful and mostly mellow mood pleaser. It reminded me of when I saw The Barefoot Movement. They would be great on a bill together. Throw in Coco Love Alcorn and you’ve got the makings of a great show. The Arielle Deem is a wonderfully enjoyable time for both jazz newbies and the previously initiated jazz lovers.