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Cathy Richardson Band
A Concert Review

February 17, 1996


Aurora, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
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 Richardson.

"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 deserved.

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 is.......


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