Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Josh Duke: Bonus Tracks – July 31, 2007

If a band plays in bar and there’s no one there to hear it, then did it really happen at all? I felt like a fly on the wall in Jambalaya last night as I watched Shelley Short serenade an awkward and seemingly half-drunk older couple waltz their way into oblivion. And it’s a shame to be honest, as she was one of the finer voices I’ve heard in quite a while.

But her voice was practically the only thing holding the evening together. Her lyrics made me think, and her voice made me want to go home and wear an oversized knit sweater while drinking hot cocoa. But having Gary James’ bass being the only compliment to Shelley’s tired 3:4 beats and lilting whimsical ditties left holes in her sound bigger than the ones someone left in my tires the other night. I wanted something more; an “umph” to her music that really drove home the seriousness of her lyrics.

Instead, I got an over-amplified guitar paired with a sombering bass line that killed the mood faster than the time I couldn’t stop giggling at my grandpa’s funeral. With that aside, I enjoyed her singing. She reminded me of that girl from Sixpence None the Richer, except without the Christian shtick.

After her performance was Arthur Dodge from Lawrence, Kansas. By the time he went on even the few stragglers that made up the audience began to file out, and we were left with the same problem that we had with Shelley.

His recordings sound great and full and like something that belongs in the ending credits of an HBO drama, but what I get instead is a guy on stage, by himself, reproducing a cheap facsimile of what otherwise would have been a good show. I couldn’t help but tune out slightly when he asked, “Where are all the chicks at?” Few artists can pull off performing their own material solo, what he was trying to do was by no means an easy task. But unless your name is Ryan Adams or Jeff Tweedy, I’d practice a little more.

Friday night was the product of bad planning. We had two acts from out of town without a flyer to be seen. There was no local band to form any sort of draw, and I found it sad that I had to make an effort to find out that there was even a show at Jambalaya that night. Hell, even Monica didn’t know about it. And it was still a $5 show for a lineup that was better suited for a Wednesday evening lounge act than a Friday night musical feature.

The Eye’s newest columnist has a show review blog at


1 Comment»

  Area Rug Online wrote @

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