Music enthusiasts often say the best live music is underground. At The Cave on Sunday night, located a level below Franklin Street -- they were right.
The Cabarrus Street All-Stars are part of a new, young music movement that's a little bit rock, a little bit blues and a lot of fun. With the energy and sound of young bluesmen Kenny Wayne Shepard and Jonny Lang, the seven-piece, Raleigh-based band put on a terrific live show.
But the band's high-energy performance didn't quite fit the purring set that the audience members expected. Frontman and guitarist Gilbert Neal's attempts to engage the meager crowd were continually thwarted by the unresponsive attendees.
It just wasn't the audience to fit the All-Stars' dynamics and performance style. The band was gutsy on stage -- one of the band members even wore an N.C. State University shirt for the Chapel Hill show. Performing confidently and playing arduously, a few of the All-Stars' songs were reminiscent of the harder side of grassroots rocker Ben Harper -- breaking from cruising instrumentals to pleasing funk.
But the Cabarrus Street All-Stars were not all-out rock and blues. Mellow jazz lines crept into the ensemble to create some beautiful contrast, courtesy of saxophonist Mitch Morton.
This kind of variance in style and volume showed the group's overall strength and tightness of the ensemble. But with seven band members -- Eric Anthony on keyboard, Mitch Morton on saxophone, Gilbert Neal and Jeff Anderson on guitar, Brant Schlatzer on drums, Kurt Schlatzer on hand percussion and Tom Mills on bass -- a band can't help but have a full sound. The trouble is controlling it.
To manage the ensemble, the All-Stars kept a steady momentum, not straying too far from the blended style that works so well for them. By sticking to a style the ensemble is comfortable with, each of the members has the freedom to experiment within each of the original songs.
If the All-Stars adhere to their funky style and keep up the energy of their live shows, the stars look very favorable for this stellar band.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at email@example.com.
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