The Gin Mill Speakeasy is the perfect venue to see performers like Saturdae Jonez and Bailey Jordan-Neil. You walk into the building and see one thing, and walk around behind the bar and see something else entirely. The same thing can be said about Saturdae Jonez (aka D’eve Archer) and Bailey Jordan-Neil.
Both performers in this evening, billed as Loops and Libations, make looping part of their act. Unlike many other “loopers”, the cleverness of the loops is not the focus of what they play. The songs were elevated by the sounds they made, and the sounds were all in service of the songs.
Bailey Jordan-Neil, who just released his Lucky EP, builds his layers of loops so musically that it’s easy to forget that’s what he’s doing. The sounds he’s able to coax out of his parlour sized guitar are varied and precise. It helps that he plays his guitar with a killer right hand that’s incredibly percussive, even when he’s not using it to play percussion.
His set alternated original songs and a varied list of covers that included songs by Bob Dylan, Shawn Mendes, and Ed Sheeran. His songs have a strong pop sensibility, and his performance and vocal range make them shine.
After Jordan-Neil left the stage, Saturdae Jonez played a killer set. She started off with a couple of original songs, fusing soulful funk in a psychedelic swirl. The sound was beyond what one comes to expect from a solo performer, especially one handling her own sound.
There’s a meticulous nature that goes into creating loop based music, but again it was done so musically that the mechanics of building those loops seemed invisible to the audience. She did more than play with the loops; it felt like she was jamming with them. A performance that is, by its nature calculated, breathed with such soul that you felt like there was a band backing her up.
The highlight of the night though, was when she invited her friend, renowned jazz pianist Andrew Craig to join her on the venue’s upright piano. They launched into Midnight Train to Georgia, and just when you thought they’d left it all on the stage, went into Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, and the crowd was transfixed.
An evening of Loops and Libations was a great way to spend a Friday night. When you next see Bailey Jordan-Neil or Saturdae Jonez listed here on Music Lives, you’re going to want to make sure that you get there!