Swaleoke At Radio Bean February 14, 2015
Words by Tim Lewis.
I had a great time seeing, and being a part of, music Saturday night at Radio Bean. Periodically, Swale play a night of cover songs and let people in the audience sign up to sing them. They call it Swaleoke and it’s always fun. Since it happens in Burlington, there are always a few great singers around, so there are some serious musical fireworks, but like a good karaoke, there are a lot a amateurs in the audience, so there is a huge element of random fun. A couple of times ago Eric Olsen said I had to come up and sing sometime and I reluctantly agreed. Saturday night, I fulfilled that promise. Six days before the show I messaged Eric, since we had mentioned doing some Marillion, to see if they were up for Bitter Suite. The band learned it in a day, and I spent much of the week reciting the lyric, and trying to get to know exactly when to start it. I wasn’t at all nervous, until Saturday night after work. Then the terror struck. I listened to the song five times or so, then put on the black (with the bright Fish t-shirt under the dress shirt) and headed out the door. I got in and got settled as the acoustic duo finished up their last two songs. I missed their name, but they were pretty solid. Swale’s instruments were all set up behind them, and the band came in and did some final set up stuff, passed around the song signup clipboard, then disappeared for a bit. After a short while, Swale walked in dressed in green hats and clothes and were obviously intent on swapping the St Valentines Day holiday for St Patrick’s. They always do something fun like that. They got set up and started tuning, and the tuning turned into a drone like song that I did not know. Amanda had a cool weird vocal effect going on, and it was lots of fun. When they finished it, they started asking around to see who wanted to go first. A couple of people said no, and I said YES! I was hoping to go early and get through it so I could just enjoy the rest of the show. It was harder to find my starting queues than I realized, but Eric helped a lot and I gave it my all as it went from the spoken word part, to the softly sung part to the scream for my life part at the end. It was definitely more of a karaoke version of the song, than a pro version, but the band were amazing and hit it note for note. Things went pro quickly after that as Pam Ant took the stage and put her wonderful vocal spin on Bowie’s Let’s Dance. She can do amazing things with her voice and really went for it. I did not catch the next singer, from the earlier Facebook posts it might have been Kim Desjardins, but she sang a great version of Summer Breeze, and the band played it perfectly. I always think of that song as the breezy chorus, but the song as a whole it really good, and she sang it very well. Up next Lily Sickles took the stage and just belted out a killer I Love Rock And Roll. I’m not sure which is her stronger, her voice or pure attitude, but both were at full force and made the song great. Amanda Gustafson followed with a gorgeous and powerful version of Maybe I’m Amazed. It was very nice to just have Swale play a song, and it was a great version of it. A couple named Melody and Greg got up next for I Got You Babe. It was a fun amateur version, and I forgot how many sections the song has. Eric was great about guiding them through it. It was classic and fun. Eric Segalstad followed with an emotive Hello, I Love You. He physically threw himself into the lyrics and did a stunning job. I love that song and he put it over the top. Up next Lily returned to the stage, accompanied by Caroline Marie on sax, and they did a breezy and beautiful version of Only The Lonely. Lily’s voice was great, and the sax just slid the song along. Caroline stayed for the next one and sang and played sax on Careless Whisper. The song has such an iconic sax riff that it really struck a nerve with the full audience and had thunderous applause at the end. She stayed up for the next one too as Joe Adler took the stage to sing The Power Of Love. His deep voice made it sound great, and the song is just lots of fun. A guy named Andy, I missed his last name, did a killer version of What I Like About You. His singing was strong and precise and Lee Anderson joined in for the harmonica solo. Fun was had by all. I missed the names of the two girls who came up next, but caught that they were joined by Greg who sang I Got You earlier. They did a fun version of Salt N Pepa’s Shoop. A guy named Ben followed and sang a gentle version of The Commodores Easy. It was fun. Jason Cooley followed and the band played hard on Public Enemy’s Fight The Power. He sang it strong and ferociously, and it was just great. After that, Andy and Lily came back to the stage for a rousing 867-5309 (Jenny) that had the whole audience singing along with them. They were joined by someone named Mike, and it was nothing but fun. The hour was late but Swale had one song left. They played a gentle and gorgeous version of Arthur Russel’s I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face. Soon after they wrapped up, I said a few goodbyes and headed out the door. I chatted with Jeremy Frederick a bit, and thanked him for playing Marillion. I took the cold but easy walk home with love in my heart for all the pros and amateurs who took a swing at singing, and for everyone who braved the cold night and showed up to listen.
There is a video of the full show here. There is a lot of empty space before it begins. Swale’s first song is about 15 minutes in.
This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.