Adam Marsland's Chaos rocks by the sea
By Bob Davis
I recently caught Adam Marsland’s
Chaos band and friends at Brennan’s Pub, Marina del Rey
When Friday night’s show was
announced, members of the Chaos Nation knew this one would
be special. It was divided into three sets, the first
part was Adam and Evie Sands (the Inimitable Empress of
Soul/Pop) trading leads on songs that were more or less in
the soul groove.
Part 2 was the big reason for the
night’s gathering, the first live performance of all ten
songs in Adam’s forthcoming CD, “The Owl and the Full
Moon.” Since Adam did most of the parts for recording the
“Owl,” having a live band perform the tracks on stage was
a bit of a challenge. Add to this, the fact that Adam
spent the previous weekend in Las Vegas filling in for a
fellow musician who had died suddenly (if it ain’t one
thing, it’s another…), and he was busy getting the masters
for the CD wrapped up and off to the disc maker, so it’s a
real tribute to the whole group for making the show come
off so well. The likelihood of a similar performance of
all ten songs is rather remote, but with these folks,
never say never.
As if this wasn’t enough, Part 3
featured Dan Janisch, a regular at Adam’s '70s sessions
and Elton John tribute nights. He really puts on a show
just by himself, so when you add the Chaos Band, it’s
gonna be a fun night.
This was just the sound check-- the
stage is just barely big enough to hold all this
talent! L to R, Evie Sands, Eric Summer, Adam Marsland,
Rob Z, Rachel Wolfe, and off to the right, Teresa Cowles.
My favorite lady of song and Guitar
Goddess, Evie Sands, started off the show with an old
Motown favorite, “Tracks of My Tears.” Her version was
worth the trip from San Gabriel by itself.
Going down the list, “Have You Seen
Her” (top ten hit for the Chi-Lites).
“Hot Fun in the Summertime” (first
performed by AMCB at Sounds of Summer at Cameron Park CA
in Sept 2005).
“Stayin’ Alive” with Norman Kelsey
teaming with Adam on this BeeGees #1 hit from 1977. This
always reminds me of a beer commercial with a troop of
ants carrying off a bottle of the sponsor’s product.
“Jive Talkin’” is another BeeGees
hit, and is one of Norm’s signature songs from AMCB 70s
shows. I was never a BeeGees fan, but enjoy AMCB’s take
on their music.
“Philadelphia Freedom” is a
favorite from the Elton John songbook. Last year I got
called up to play second keyboard on this one (just two
notes, but it was some time on the bandstand).
“Midnight Train to Georgia” has
been covered by three or four of the young ladies who have
“sat in” with AMCB. Tonight’s singer was Camille
Santochi, who covered it in fine style.
“Love Train” is one of my favorites
(no surprise there). A #1 hit for the O’Jays back in
1973, Adam and Evie do this one with a full head of steam
(or put it in full parallel if you’re trolley fan).
“Don’t Look Back (Don’t Look Down)”
is (for now at least) Evie’s signature song. From the
first notes to the last “bwannnng!” guitar lick, it’s my
favorite song of the 21st Century. If there were any
justice in the world, it would have won a Grammy.
“Bad Bad Leroy Brown” had Rob Z
taking us the South Side of Old Chicago with this #1 hit
from Jim Croce.
“Take a Letter Maria” is an R. B.
Greaves song that Adam has been covering for a while. I
remember hearing it on the AM radio when I worked nights
in San Bernardino back in 1969.
Now it was time for great unveiling
of “The Owl and the Full Moon”. Even with changing
backing singers and musicians, AMCB and friends covered
Adam’s latest creation in fine style.
“Contamination” was the first song,
and the only one that Adam had performed earlier. One of
these was for the music video that was shot (in part) at
the Karma Frog studio, and even has Bobby Boy in it for a
“The Owl and the Full Moon” is the
title track, and Adam explained how he got the inspiration
for this one.
“No One’s Ever Gonna Hear This
Song”. Good thing there weren’t any Vulcans in the house,
or this title would have been declared “illogical.”
“Power Pop Days”. Since the 1990s
seem further away every day, we might call this a
nostalgia piece. It brought to mind an earlier Adam song,
“Man in an Empty Suit”. Evie did a
splendid guitar break on this number.
“Don’t Laugh at How I Feel”. Good
advice in many situations.
“I Wanna Be in Love”. True for
many of us.
“Happy Face”. Time for positive,
“To Be Human” and “Song 11”. Since
I’m on the “early bird” list for the CD when it’s
produced, I plan to listen to these numbers several times
next month-- they’re that kind of song.
And if this wasn’t enough, after a
break, we welcomed Dan (Daniel my brother) Janisch to the
stage. If anyone was running low on energy by this point,
Dan got us jacked up again. I don’t have the full play
list for this set, but here’s most of it:
“I Am…..I Said”. Dan does a
masterful job on this Neil Diamond classic. It was one of
the covers I hoped he’d do, and he didn’t disappoint. At
one AMCB show, he introduced it with a monologue about
a New York deli, with the punch line “A Yam I Said!” To
this day, I can’t visit the “taters” section of the
produce dept. without this song coming to mind. For some
reason, this song brings to mind “We Belong to the Night”
by Ellen Foley.
“Rocket Man”. Another one of my
requests, after having seen Dan singing it at “Elton John
Tribute Night” shows.
“Folsom Prison Blues”. This
featured Adam on vocal and bass (giving Teresa a
break), with Dan and Evie channeling the Tennessee Two on
guitars. Not sure what the Man in Black would have
thought of it, but I was in hog heaven. Wow!
“Another Kind of Man”. Dan sang
one of his originals, and Evie played some blues guitar
that just about blew me away. Ooh boy and how!
“Don’t Go Breaking My
Heart”. Rachel Wolfe and Rob Z had fun with the song made
famous by Elton John and Kiki Dee.
“Saturday Night’s All
Right”. Another big hit for Sir Elton—the band really
took this one and rocked the house. Although it was well
past midnight, several of the folks in the audience were
up and dancing to the music.
"In My Room". Time to get
everyone down off the ceiling and mellowed out for the
trip home. This Beach Boys song was just the right
Pour it on, Evie-- our Guitar
Goddess in action! This may have been when she was
playing the blues backing for Dan Janisch on “Another Kind
As Johnny Cash once said, “It’s
like she has electricity in her fingers….”
Evie accompanies Rachel Wolfe and
Rob Z. on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart".