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Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Concert Reviews, Music, News, Powerpop |

Review: Jamie & Steve, Don Dixon Live Powerpop at the Chop Shop

Review: Jamie & Steve, Don Dixon Live Powerpop at the Chop Shop

It takes a great deal to get me out of my warm Greensboro home and out and about town on a cold winter night. Yet I found myself in the North Davidson section of Charlotte trying to find a parking spot in a Jamie Hoover & Steve Stoeckel - Spongetonesbarely lit side street. Not light enough for me to see where I’m going but just dark enough for a car thief to mistake my bucket o’ bolts for something drive-able and steal it, thereby giving me an excuse to file a claim with the insurance company.

Hey, I’m a glass half full kinda guy.

Speaking of glass half full, the Chop Shop looked like my kinda place. Bathrooms and cold beer in plastic cups. All the amenities.

Don Dixon got the evening off to a great start. I’d heard Don in Raleigh a few years back when he was promoting “The Nu Look”, a CD with a number of fine songs on it including several he would perform this evening, albeit without a band. Some performers are much better with a band behind them. It hides their vocal limitations. In Dixon’s case, his voice has so much character that bringing it front and center makes him even more impressive.

Jamie & Steve powerpopHighlights from early in his set included “Most of the Girls Like to Dance but Only Some of the Boys” and “The Night That Otis Died”, between which he shared some amusing stories. Jamie Hoover and Hannah Thomas would later join Dixon on stage, finishing with the Dixon / Jones composition “Always”, a favorite and a joy to hear live. The end of the set also served as a reminder of how truly great a guitarist Jamie Hoover is.

I grabbed another beer between sets and before I could sit back down, Jamie (Hoover) & Steve (Stoeckel) took the stage.

I’d always been impressed with their seemingly effortless harmonies, on Imaginary Cafe, the EP that proceeded it, The Next Big Thing, and from numerous powerpop recordings back in their Spongetones days.

This evening would be no different.

Their set began with two irresistibly catchy songs, “The Next big Thing” and “Can We Start Again, Girl”, both of which are so radio friendly that they’d be hits in almost any other time. Stoeckel broke out the ukelele for “Goldmine”, a “song about the Lind-i” (Not my words) from the new EP, Imaginary Cafe. In short, it was a joy to hear, simply unforgettable.

Other highlights included the title song from the new EP, “Your Name Here”, and “Fly Girl”, a song from their first full cd entitled “English Afterthoughts”.

The guys shared an anecdote about “Fly Girl”. The way the story goes, Jamie and Steve were standing backstage watching Jill Sobile sing “Jetpack” and, as Steve tells it, “as she finished the song in a breathy last note, I was spellbound.” They wrote “Fly Girl” within days of the experience.

My wife tells me I had a huge grin on my face during the show. I don’t know why she’d expect anything less. Hey, after all, I’m a glass completely full kinda guy.

Visit Jamie & Steve’s website for future show information