Music Review: The Louisville Crashers @ Incredible Dave’s 9.2.11
By Dan Blanchard
My wife-to-be and I had the privilege of being part of the rapt audience for last Friday’s Louisville Crashers’ appearance at Incredible Dave’s (9236 Westport Rd. Rolling Hills Plaza, Louisville, KY 40242.) The Crashers are Mark Maxwell (lead vocals), Max Maxwell (drums, background vocals), Shane Isenberg (lead guitar, vocals), Jesse Vest (bassist), Howard Gittli (guitar, trumpet, vocals) and Geoff Gittli (sax, flute, keyboard and vocals.) Find them amd all the info you could possibly want (including music samples) at www.thelouisvillecrashers.com ).
Seamlessly transitioning from Stevie Wonder to Neil Diamond to Van Morrison to TheTemptations to Maroon 5 to John Mayer (Waiting on the World to Change) to Bon Jovi to…(you name it!), this skillfully polished band personifies the concept: “range.” And they do absolute justice to every artist/band along the way.
While some brave groups may (foolishly) attempt to cover Train (Calling All Angels), Mark Maxwell’s lilting tenor voice graces every note of a rendition that is as effortless as it is precise. Background vocals, thoughtfully layered on Mark’s lead by percussionist (and brother) Max create consistent harmonies that are both crisp and tight, no better than in their rendition of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
The alto sax and trumpet are more than just a complementary after thought. Reminiscent of the funky “Tower of Power” horns of the 70’s, Geoff and Howard Gittli add a brassy power and drive that puts the “crash” in “Crashers.” Howard’s solo on “Waiting on the World to Change” was consummately brilliant. The two added energy, drive and depth to a well thought out variety of numbers, peaking with a simply superlative rendering of “Superstitious.” It’s one thing to capture the essence of the lead of a Stevie Wonder piece. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to hear a horn section make one feel the depth of a full jazz band experience. And if that wasn’t enough, Geoff leaps from keyboard to tenor sax to flute: his own solo on “Ain’t No Sunshine” was pure, lilting musical magic.
This band has a penchant for transitioning from number to number to number, barely pausing to catch their breath in between. And Mark gregariously spends as much (or more) time wandering through the crowd, regaling every table along the way–making the night of one young lady who was wheel-chair bound, when he sat next to her and crooned into her ear–as he does on stage.
The band’s magnum opus of the evening was the Crashers’ impeccable replication of Chicago’s“25 or 6 to 4.” From Mark channeling his inner Peter Cetera to Shane Isenberg’s killer “shred” on the lead guitar solo to the Gittli brothers’ phenomenal “horns,” it was, by far, musically, the finest song of the night.
When you want to treat your ears to a night of “the best of” your favorite bands, you can do no better than a night with the Louisville Crashers, arguably the premiere local band in the city.
(Dan Blanchard is one of the founding members of Louisville’s own Water’s Edge vocal band (www.watersedgevocals.org) and a self-proclaimed music junkie.)
About the Author
Rachel was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Louisville. Her interests include exercising, sports, and spending time with family, friends, and my dogs. Rachel graduated high school at age 15. As a 16-year-old freshman in college, she had a literature review published in a college textbook. She is a former Mrs. Kentucky. In 2001, she signed a recording contract and had an album that was distributed and sold nationwide. She has also received numerous awards, accolades, and accomplishments in the political arena.