Davina and The Vagabonds Delivered A Powerful Performance

I go to concerts to see bands with which I am unfamiliar and am almost always pleasantly surprised. Every once in a while, however, an unknown band completely blows my mind.

Davina Sowers

Davina Sowers

That was the case this week when The Extended Play Sessions presented Minneapolis-based Davina and The Vagabonds. Several days later, I am still shaking my head in amazement at the energy in the room that night.

Davina

Davina

I met Davina in the parking lot on my way into the studio and immediately knew she was going to be extremely entertaining. Davina exudes warmth, humor, and emotion – yes, I got that after talking with her for five minutes!

Davina

Davina

The band plays “blues, roots, New Orleans, Americana music” according to drummer (and megaphone singer) Connor McRae Hammergren, but the reality is that they have a unique style, comprising much more than those genres, that I have never heard until this night. The music is piano-driven but Davina is happy to let the horns section take over the music.

Connor McRae

Connor McRae

In addition to Connor, the band members are Davina Sowers on vocals and piano; Dan Eikmeier on trumpet and vocals; Ben Link on trombone and vocals; and newest member Greg Byers on upright bass.

Ben Link

Ben Link

Greg Byers

Greg Byers

Dan Eikmeier

Dan Eikmeier

They took the stage dressed to the nines – the men sporting dark suits and ties, and Davina wearing a black dress with a wonderful red knitted/crocheted ‘crown’ on her head. This set the mood for some old-timey music that at times sounded similar to Fats Waller or Professor Longhair.

Davina

Davina

Ben and Dan

Ben and Dan

Not all the songs sounded like they came from the early part of the 20th century, however. There was a little bit of Jerry Lee Lewis in Davina’s animated performance. The reality, though, is that I shouldn’t compare Davina and the Vagabonds to anyone else because their music is one-of-a-kind.

Davina and Greg

Davina and Greg

The band released ‘Sunshine’ earlier this year and ‘Black Cloud’ in 2011, but the set consisted of many original songs from that earlier release. They also played a terrific version of ‘St. James’ Infirmary’; I have heard many bands play it (including Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing two different versions back to back) and The Vagabonds’ version measures well against the others.

Davina

Davina

Greg

Greg

Some of the songs I particularly enjoyed were ‘Black Cloud’ and ‘Pocket’, but I truly enjoyed every song they performed. Davina writes most of the songs and sings lead almost all the time. Dan took the lead on one song and Ben had an extended solo on another. Connor performed a solo through a small megaphone that was awesome! Too bad he was at the back of the stage for that!

Dan

Dan

Connor on the megaphone

Connor on the megaphone

Some of the words that came to mind as they were performing – joy, power, energy, bliss, emotion – describe the performance but don’t really do justice to it. I know both the band and the audience felt all that and more.

Davina

Davina

Dan

Dan

Greg

Greg

Ben

Ben

Connor

Connor

They are all expressive performers and let us all feel that they were having a blast playing for us. I’m not sure who had a better experience, the band or the audience.

Davina

Davina

It was probably equal… Go see this band if you get a chance. They tour a lot – I believe Davina said 200 days this year – so there’s a good chance they will appear at a venue near you. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on November 14, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. oh man I’m so sorry I missed this one

  2. Did anyone there video this?

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