If you like hot jazz or the Squirrel Nut Zipper’s, there’s a band that travels frequently through the Midwest that you MUST see! They’re called Davina and the Vagabonds. These classy folks tour year round, but they are mostly known in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota.
The lead singer and pianist of this classy band is Davina and I must say, she is a powerhouse and has the perfect voice for hot jazz. The Vagabonds include Michael Carvale (vocals/upright bass), Connor Mcrae (vocals/drums), Dan Eikmeier (vocals/trumpet), and Ben Link (vocals/trombone). Davina and the Vagabonds put together amazing songs that are not only musically pleasing, but also lyrically pleasing. Davina was even the 2009 International Songwriting Competition winner, easily proving that her poetic lyrics are a work of art. Not only do they play their own songs that are lyrically and musically well put together, but they also play covers of other classic musicians such as T-Bone Walker and Sam Cooke. Here’s a clip of them playing the T-Bone Walker song “I’ll Always Be In Love With You” in St. Louis on June 14th. Another reason to catch one of their shows is to see Davina’s awesome facial expressions! They’re fantastic. So if you live in the Midwest and interested in something different for a change or just like hot jazz, make sure you check out Davina and the Vagabonds!
On Friday June 22nd we arrived at the Universal River Assembly for the second half of Family Groove Company, and I’m glad we made it because they eased us into a great night of bumpin’ with their upbeat yet chill jams. The night was warm and pleasant, it was the my first trip to the Peoria Riverfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting. The venue is a picturesque park running alongside the river with a large and beautiful fountain spraying dashes of water high in the sky, greeting you as you come in the main entrance. The sun was still barely hanging in the western sky when we were getting in and we could hear Family Groove Company rockin’ it out as we passed the children playing in the fountain.
Once “inside” the atmosphere was nice and relaxed, with the perfect amount of people to space ratio. If you wanted to get up close to the stage, there was no shoving through crowds; or if on the other hand you wanted to hang back, there were plenty of chairs and picnic tables to sit on. DJ Solo made it difficult to stay put though as he brought us some fun and heavy tracks. Among some sweet originals, including a particularly unique song that borrowed a line from an insurance company commercial – of all places – he pumped it up with a sweet cover of my favorite Darude song “Sandstorm,” and got the crowd ready for the headliners.
EOTO is a band that I have seen many, many, many, times. It is amazing that despite these numerous encounters I do not get tired of their shows. The truth is, and I have said this before, that they manage to keep it fresh unlike any other band I’ve seen. With only two members, Jason Hann and Michael Travis, one would think it would be difficult for them to keep up with the current music scene; however they not only keep up, they sail past most acts that may even have bigger lights and performances, bringing forth a percussion-loaded jam unlike any other. Plastic petals lined the stage, flashing colors and images to EOTO’s dub-stepesque beats. It is hard to describe their sound, I would say that they are a jam-band-electronica-bass mix, but it doesn’t matter what “genre” you call your own I am willing to bet you will LOVE this duo. When they’re not jammin’ out as EOTO they’re playing in String Cheese…need I say more?