There I was, sitting at Gamekeepers in
Aurora, Illinois, with some big, tall guy in my line of sight to the
stage, and sitting next to me were two lesbians. Not that there is
anything wrong with that, the lesbians that is, not the guy - he
really pissed me off, it was just my first experience in a bar
sitting next to lesbians. They seemed happy, and that guy finally
moved, so I was kinda happy too.
Why? Well, there, that night, was my new favorite singer - Cathy
Richardson. It usually kinda goes like this - hear a song on the
radio, kinda like it, go buy the CD, and then fall in love with a
band. It happened to me with KMFDM, with the first time I heard
Hootie and the Blowfish (I'm proud to say it, unlike most people who
think it's wrong to admit it even though somebody must - they sold
enough CD's - but, I'm sorry, I digress - back to Cathy), and now,
with buying both of Cathy Richardson's CD, "Moon, Not
Banana" and her latest, "Fools on a Tandem," and then
seeing her live, I have a new favorite and her name is Cathy
"Who the hell is Cathy Richardson" is what I can hear
you saying?" Well, she's kinda local to Chicago, but with a
package like hers all rolled into one, I dare say she should really
be known by more. With a solid collection of songs, a blues, soul,
folk, rock, and just about everything else rolled into one
influence, and a stage presence that keeps even those who don't know
her songs listening and dancing, Cathy Richardson seems to have it
all - all except that national recognition.
Enough about her, what about the show? Well, let me tell you.
First off, she really needs to be wireless with one of those headset
contraptions that Garth Brooks wears. It's a shame to let that
little bundle of energy be stuck behind a microphone in the middle
of a stage. Let her run, be free, and frolic with the crowd that
loves her. "Alright," you're saying, "she's a bundle
of energy, but what about the music?" Ah, that's the best part.
The show was mostly originals, with a few covers thrown in for
good measure. There were times when I wanted to cry, the sensitive
new-age guy that I am, like during the song "Over the
Miles," an original, and there were times I wanted to jump up
and yell "Hallelujah," like during a great rendition of
"Me and Bobby MgGee." She and the band were kickin' ass
and takin' names, mixing the original with a kinda "Aiko, Aiko"
feel. Starting slow, kickin' it in, until I thought she was a big
black woman belting out gospels in a church choir. Her voice was
powerful, and that's an understatement.
And the first set wasn't over yet (alright, "Over the Miles
was in the second, but it fit in with the writing - work with me
please!) A medley came of the "I Wouldn't Dance for
Another" song, "R.E.S.P.E.C.T.," a big ol' band jam,
back into the dance song, and finally a cute little ditty called
"Drink, Drink, Drink." I liked it, and I did!
Now, being the professional reviewer I am, I have to control
myself at concerts, and can't yell out things like "Nice
shades, Cath" as she walked on stage for the second set. But
the shades and the band brought with them a great blues rendition of
the Spiderman theme. Along with Spidey, this hour set brought with
it some more cool originals, a great rendition of The Pretenders
classic, "Middle of the Road" with Cathy wailing on the
blues harp, a great cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and
Joy" sung by the guitar dude, and just a barrel of fun for all.
But, then, to my dismay, the band was finished. Now, I always
thought it was normal to let the crown cheer a little bit, give some
applause, maybe entice an encore. No, not for this DJ at
Gamekeepers. It seemed the minute the last song ended, he kicked in
some dance music and wouldn't let the band get the applause they
I've read comparisons of Cathy Richardson with Melissa Etheridge.
Other than the fact that she is female and plays guitar, I fail to
see the comparison. I see her more this way. Take Mary Chapin
Carpenter, have her play more rock-type songs, and you've almost got
Cathy Richardson. Cathy takes pop-rock to a new level by adding a
blues edge, sometimes folksy lyrics, and a lot of soul to music that
can usually be the same old stuff. Her's isn't.
Oh well, if you couldn't guess, I loved the show. Cathy
Richardson has the musical talent to take her far, but like a lot of
bands like that, someone important just needs to find her. Cathy
Richardson and her band get TWO HUGE THUMBS UP!!! Hell, I liked the
show so much, she even gets TWO BIG TOES and ANYTHING ELSE THAT POPS
UP!!! And, paraphrasing a line from "Drink, Drink, Drink,"
if Cathy ever wants to wake up naked in an unknown location with an
ugly person she doesn't know, all except the ugly part, my address