A Tribute To Little Stevie Wonder
The 8×10, Baltimore, MD (May 12, 2016)
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”4″]L[/su_dropcap]et me tell you guys a little something about this Baltimore town. I have only lived here for less than a year, but in that time I have seen some of the most moving displays of community and love than anywhere else in the world. There is so much personality here, a culture all of its own that focuses on eating, drinking, shopping and supporting local; a strong pride in all things Baltimore and a love for all of its strengths, as well as its faults. Of course, my primary experience with Charm City has taken place in the music scene, and on Thursday, May 12, 2016, Baltimore provided me with one of the most inspirational displays of local musicians that I have ever experienced.
The 8×10 is the ideal venue for an all local event. It has been around for years, everybody in town knows it, and most of all, it provides an intimate atmosphere for the artists and audience. Bluesman Quinton Randall opened up the evening with the trio version of his band The Cleanse, playing a powerful set consisting of original tunes and covers. The young guitarist and his band represented Charm City well, as the crowd jammed and danced along with them. They even gave the crowd a little glimpse into their creative process, as they asked to dim the lights all the way down while the rocked out a massive instrumental jam.
Speaking of lights, it is worth more than a mention that special guest lighting designer Aaron Kovelman (aka Ronny RedRocks) was in the house providing an epic backdrop on The 8×10’s brand new house lighting system! Kovelman, formerly the lighting designer for local Baltimore funk outfit Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, now travels the world running lights for some of the biggest live music events on the scene, including Coachella, most recently. Everyone was stoked to have him aboard, and he most definitely did not disappoint.
With the crowd sufficiently warmed up and more fans streaming in, the tribute to Little Stevie Wonder began. Squaring The Circle shared the stage with Rachel Ann Morgan and Jordan August for a huge intro of “Signed Sealed Delivered,” “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and “Uptight Alright,” each one finishing in a roar of applause. Amanda Lynne graced the stage for a rockin’ “Higher Ground” and “Master Blaster.” They also welcomed Brooks Long to the stage for “My Cherie Amor,” “Living for the City” and “He’s Mister Know It All,” while Rachel Ann Morgan joined Squaring The Circle’s Carl Dougherty in “Maybe Your Baby.” Mikey Borhorquez stepped up for a nice funky trio of tunes, including “Sir Duke,” “I Wish” and the one that everybody was waiting for, “Superstition.” Tim Nodar hopped up for “Jesus Children of America” and Cara Kelly took over for “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Saturn” and “As.” Finally, John Christian Kane took the lead on “If It’s Magic” and then he welcomed the whole crew to join him for the finale in the form of “Another Star.” Squaring The Circle consists of Tyler Facinoli (keys), Nate Shulkin6 (drums), Dan Kutcher (bass) and Carl Dougherty (guitar, vocals), and the full cast of musicians also included Mario D’Ambrosio (sax),
Erik Morra (percussion), Kim Gravatt (sax, flute), Danny Davis (trumpet), Aaron Walker (keys), Ben Schmier (bass), Charlie Blatt (guitar), Patrick Rainey (sax), Jordan August (guitar, vocals), Rachel Ann Morgan (vocals), Mikey Bohorquez (vocals), Amanda Lynne (vocals), Brooks Long (vocals), Cara Kelly (vocals), John Christian Kane (guitar, vocals) and Matt Kutcher (drums).
All in all, everyone absolutely killed it! Musicians, lighting, sound, venue, crowd, everyone just straight up rocked! All of us danced the night away to great tunes, great people and great fun, while everyone on stage seemed to be having just as much, if not more, fun as us. The stage and crowd were both filled with people of all different ages, races, religions and creeds, and all of us were there for one reason: to celebrate the music of one of the most gifted songwriters, singers and pianists in the history of music. In the process of accomplishing that goals, we also celebrated the wealth of talent that exists in our amazing local music scene. What an absolutely incredible evening!