A couple of real, live, Texas angels were unplugged in a benefitperformance for the Interfaith Care Alliance atLa Zona Rosa in Austin on October 1st. Abra Moore and Lisa Loeb, along withboyfriend, Dweezil Zappa (son of pop icon, Frank), played acoustic sets to raise money forthe Austin-based non-profit organization providing care to people living with HIV, AIDS,and other life threatening diseases.
The atmosphere of the venue was not typical of La Zona Rosa. In whatis normally a standing room only club, folding chairs were arranged in rows in front ofthe stage. The stage itself was decorated with candles and flowers, and soft music wafted,setting a mellow mood, more like that of a church Christmas pageant than a pop show. Theaudience, a bit older and predominantly female, had a distinctively Lilith-esque quality.
Abra Moore perpetuated the mellow theme first by playing new songson an upright piano and then switching to acoustic guitar for several cuts from herrelease, Strangest Places, including last years hit "Four LeafClover." Appearing a bit disoriented on stage at times due to the technicalities ofbeing filmed live for the Internet, Moore nevertheless managed to deliver a full-bodied,unaccompanied, acoustic performance. Moore offers distinctive vocals that are reminiscentof the childlike warbling of another Texan, Edie Brickell, and songwriting abilities thathave been compared to plucky female songsters, Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair. CallingAustin home since 1994, Moore has been conspicuously absent from the music scene of late,save for a duet release of "Im In" with fellow Texan, Radney Foster.
Top 40 queen, Lisa Loeb, of Dallas, opened her set by performing acouple of solo acoustic numbers, including the cut "Do You Sleep" from the CD Firecracker.Afterwards, joined by Dweezil Zappa on electric guitar, she performed the hits "IDo," "Taffy," and "Stay," her break out single from the movie RealityBites. While Loebs radio and video personas do not fully reflect the range ofher talent, in a live performance, she imparts not only her abilities as an accomplishedguitarist and insightful songwriter, but some personality behind those trademark cat-eyeglasses.
The onstage exchange between the Zappa and Loeb was often cute andfamiliar, but Zappas presence provided some comic relief for between song banter.The central theme of the evening was that of a snack treat called Spunch that theyhad found in a convenience store on their ride from Dallas. Zappa spontaneously lit intovarious popular riffs, and Loeb appeased him by adding Spunch-related references.Such was the case with TLCs "No Scrubs" ("I dont want no Spunch,Spunch is a guy who cant get no love from me") or the theme to the 70s copshow ChiPs (Spunch and John). Later the Spunch package was raffled off andLoeb, Zappa, and the lucky winner each sampled a bite. Impromptu give-and-take of thiskind can be the downfall in many an artists onstage performance, but actually playedfairly well with this team.
At times, Loeb and Zappa appeared to be playfully disagreeing, butit was evident that Loeb was in charge of her show, banishing Zappa backstage so she couldperform her final number, Wishing Heart, alone. Another year together andtheyll be the new Sonny and Cher.
Loeb referred to a compilation CD in support of the Sundance FilmFestival that both she and Moore provided tracks. Look for the cut, Falling in Love("The time between meeting and finally leaving is sometimes called falling inlove"), on that CD, as well as a song on the Anywhere But Here moviesoundtrack. And a new release with Zappa is expected next year.
With over 600 in attendance and a raffle of one of Moores Bourgeoisguitars (worth over $4,000), the Interfaith Care Alliance raised funds and awareness fortheir cause. For more information on the Alliance, go to icare.home.texas.net on the webor call (512)459-5883.
On That Note, I'm outta here......