While Thursday night’s Twist Dallas music event had to compete with the Dallas Mavericks for attention, organizer SuZanne Kimbrell was nonetheless impressed with the show. A small turnout at Lakewood Bar & Grill didn’t take away from the fact that the talent was top notch.
Starting with Natalie Velasquez, a 19 year-old guitarist out of Denton, the night was destined for dive bar greatness. Her jazzy sound and smoky, deep voice exuded nice poise for such a young performer. At times, she recalled Meshell Ndegeocello. Her voice has a beautifully aged soul tone that belies her tiny build. Her backing band, which apparently was partly cobbled that day, was also a strong, solid package. Please, Velasquez, keep this lineup together.
Check out part of performance here.
I worried that follow-up Danny Siuba might underwhelm with just him and an electric piano. Even he told me later that he worried a tad about following up Velasquez’s performance, but he met the challenge. His work on the keys was so sharp and pristine that they tickled every nerve ending in my ear. He’s classically trained according to Kimbrell so this shouldn’t surprise, but he also played with great assertion that proved his confidence with his instrument. I heard traces of Rufus Wainwright and Owen Pallett in him, but his voice was a bit gravelly. Singer Sonya Jevette was there filming for SoundByte and tried to convince me he was a young Neil Diamond. I wasn’t hearing that so much. In certain registers, he sang well, and in louder ones, he just needed some polish. But he’s only 21 and his pop-piano tunes were well constructed. Plus, the guy, 21, drove here from Santa Fe to perform and handmade his own CD covers with handwritten lyrics. So it’s hard to fault the guy for much.
Kimbrell took the stage and is showing some nice improvement in her delivery. Her first song (sorry, I can’t think of the name) had a crisp, haunting guitar and her voice seems to get better each time. She’s always been a reliable performer, but she’s made strides all-around.
Now, with all that being said, the original headliners Robinson Hall didn’t quite make it, but half of them did. While the Robinson part couldn’t make it, singer Jackie Hall came through pulling in local band One Night Stand, pictured above. With just a six-hour rehearsal that lasted till 4 a.m., they played mostly covers which isn’t usually the case for Twist, but Kimbrell was forgiving considering the circumstances — and the audience was the better for it.
First of all, I have to ask — and with all due respect to every vocalist I do know — where has Jackie Hall been all my life? She basically murdered all of us in the audience with possibly the most killer vocals I’ve ever heard in Dallas. She went from silky, smooth runs to down and dirty with some improvised scatting in-between. As if she needed to do more, she was also damn funny onstage as well as outright genuine. Last night, Hall displayed why she should be a star.
I’m sorry this video is so dark, but here, the band performed “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and Jackie Hall made us all fall in love with her.