Trumpet Grrrl
Reviewed: Cannonball band and Phoebe Novak at Sidewalk Cafe 5.16.2013

When I sit down and reflect on the performance of the Jesse “Cannonball” Statman band, one word comes to mind, ENERGY.  The five piece band with Bob Black on rhythm guitar and Cannonball on lead drove the songs forward with a gritty sound reminiscent of grunge music.  Statman adds additional fuel to the fire of rock with his big hair that is appropriately utilized in much head banging.  Our eyeballs were also fed well with visuals such as the best dressed panda I’ve ever seen in my life playing keyboard.  Some of my favorite moments included said panda flying into the audience to execute high intensity dance solos.

                Cannonball Statman took us on a journey with his lyrics.  Topics such as vampires and the fact that Jesse is half dog/half man were covered.  Statman’s writing weaves thoughts together in a manner that can give the listener much to infer, which I love!  Quite often it made me want a song repeat so I could hear the words again.  Overall the performance of the Cannonball Statman band was rippin’ and rockin’; the guitars were screaming and the drummer was wailing.  If you’re a fan of grunge influenced rock or driving rock music I suggest marking down the next show of Jesse “Cannonball” Statman’s rock band on your calendar.

                This performance was then followed by the multi-color haired wonder Phoebe Novak for whom the show was billed—-or rather for her ex-boyfriend’s birthday?  It soon becomes clear, as she belts out song after song about how bad of a boyfriend he was.  However, lyrics are not the first thing a listener notices about Ms. Novak.  She uses her voice in a truly unique way which sounds like a mix of yodeling/growling and powerful female vocals.  As crazy as that reads, it’s absolutely amazing live and you FEEL the pain and anger in her soul regardless of knowing it’s about some jerk she used to date.

                One of my favorite songs “The Birds”, speaks to Phoebe’s plea for her former lover to let her go.  I’m a sucker for visual metaphors and enjoy the images that come to mind as she wails; “GET THEM OUT, GET THEM OUT! …” during the choruses, equivocating the release of the birds with the release of her.  Her guitar playing is also quite stellar underneath all the vocal calisthenics and I never felt the need for her to include other musicians on the stage.  Phoebe Novak approaches singer-songwriting and guitar playing in an original way that is both refreshing and much needed within the genre.