Friday, April 19, 2013

The Banana Convention on the Road with Some Points Inbetween



*Some Points In between

 CD and DVD Media Collection

The Banana Convention has expanded their vision with this enormous multimedia project. The music is superb and the lyrical themes have a coming of age relevance that speaks of diverse themes such as adult love relationships political awareness, class warfare and life as a traveling musician. The band is hitting on all its cylinders. Shar Molina is stands front and center as the focal point of the band. She has emerged as uniquely soulful vocalist and has found her voice. She is emboldened by her road worn maturity and through her liberation she has gained a growing sense of identity. She is discovering who she is. Each one of the supporting musicians is critical in the scaffolding of Shar Molina’s growing craft. Sean Drysdale is a monster musician and is the conscious of the band. Monte Nothelfer is the visionary, the leader. Chris Howard has become the earthen warrior pounding out the beats as a message to his comrades – the great communicator.  The guitarist Jake Voisine just may be the heart of the band with his fluid lines are more than just notes. They are the color of BC’s musical landscape.

Some Points In Between and all of the live tracks were mixed and mastered at the   Reed Recording Company. 

Live audio engineers: Matt Harvey, Matt Hulcul and Monte Nothelfer. All the live tracks were recorded at the Bay City Mason’s Lodge except:

Head: Recorded in Austin; Entertainer: recorded in LA; Taking Back The Fun: recorded in Denver; Fine, Dammit: recorded in Dallas: Jessica Fletcher; recorded in Chicago

The CD review follows…

So, strap on your seatbelt and secure the safety bar, you are about to enter BC’s  high speed chase for the holy grail through a filmed tour of shocking unspeakable musical statements that turn you upside down and rival the Aerosmith ride @ Disney. Let’s go…

Grand Illusion is neither soul nor rock though there are elements of both in this energetic workout. Drysdale’s bass line is solid and the rhythm guitar is funky while the tough drum pattern has just enough restraint to give the song some space. This has Indie all over it and its better than most everything you hear on Top Forty Radio. Its theme speaks volumes to any touring musician. Welcome to life on the stage

Head gets your attention right away – it forces you to listen to it and in the bridge you can dance your ass off. Jake Voisine’s fluid guitar strokes drive the rhythm section to dizzying heights of reptilian passion, rock hard and ready to go. Iggy Pop meets the Raspberries. Everyone needs a little Head (room).

There is a musical interlude that segues to The Entertainer.  It’s an unassuming, funky little rocker that gallops through the song at a frantic pace. It’s about the truth behind the lie - the dark side of being in a hardworking touring band. This is a tribute to all the musicians and bands who work their ass off for nickels and dimes and it’s just enough scratch to pay the bills – sometimes. But onstage the singer sings her song and makes you smile.  It’s alright…in the moment


Two Houses is built around an insistent minor chord pattern that evokes the backdrop for this breakup song. Molina’s vocals are mature and nuanced. She gets a lot of mileage from every syllable. She doesn’t just spit the lyrics out she embraces them like a sensitive and giving lover. Molina sings about loss and love from a worldly perspective. She stands outside of the pain and is triumphant as she sings about “a sad little thing that no one knows.”

Saddled (with no tears) is a mid-tempo rocker with a prominent in yer face John Bonham nuclear drum lesson. Howard drives the tempo with an ancient tribal beat that that signals an attack. Shar’s vocal presence is incredible from straight up and in your face or coy and tart with a few gymnastic vocal asides. The great irony of this song is that love is broken up and battered and yet the singer’s tears are dried up. There is nothing more to grieve. It is done.

The New Guy is Monte Nothelfer’s tour-de-force, a tongue-in-cheek brilliant song. It has a boy likes girl – girl ain’t having any scenario. You see… there’s a new guy in town and he’s hot - much hotter than Monte. I’ll let Monte fill you in:

The new guy is hotter than me – damn

He has perfect skin and a real cool tattoo

He’s been around, even to Madrid

Compared to him, I’m kind of a dick

-         courtesy of the wicked demented mind of Monte Nothelfer


Taking Back The Fun – recorded live in Colorado with Nothelfer trading off lead vocals with Shar Molina. Is a high energy rocker with a hard rockin’ backbeat and some sweet e-string leads by Jake Voisine. Somehow TBC is able to end the song with an almost defiant exclamation Super Freak

Call To Arms opens with Shar Molina doing a cool-ass rap with a message of universal love and diversity…a call out to human rights and involvement in the democratic process. She addresses us as Sisters and Brothers insists that we leave negativity at the door. It’s as political as it gets and it speaks to the entrenched class warfare in America. This needs to be said. It must be spoken

Go Fly a Kite has a heavy backbeat up front in the mix and pushes the band to catch up or die. Voisine is on fire doing heavy metal Chuck Berry riffs like he’s ringing a church bell. This is one of the best songs I’ve heard in recent years

Folded. The drummer creates an intricate jazzy percussive pattern. Molina’s voice emerges and comes to the forefront. Howard picks up the pace and the frantic breathless tempo rages forward at breakneck speed. Molina screams above the wall of sound, “Subtract and Multiply. We’ve folded.” This is one of the most pertinent political statements by any artist since CSN recorded Ohio seventeen days after the shootings at Kent State.

Fine, Dammit! is a high energy rocker that has some righteous Alanis Morrisette anger folded into the lyrics. “Send me a self-addressed letter and I might write you back someday”…hmm. The bluesy middle eight makes it all real – for a minute. But when Voisine goes ape shit on a Townshend-esque rapid speed strumming tutorial it becomes a free for all.  Everything ends well, it’s ok. How could it be otherwise.

Jessica Fletcher is a TBC oldie and it has practice what you preach message that isn’t quite delivered. It is more like a modern Sermon on the Mount that rails against deceit, cruelty and lies. But there are too many years of false promises –t just another set of tales from the crypt. It’s not just corruption in government and Wall Street; it’s about you and me and the small ways we betray each other. It is signaled by the lack of everyday courtesies - a simple hello or opening a door for someone. It’s No Country for Old Men.

The mood shifts and Molina begins Safe and Sound, a soulful journey through love’s depths. She sings “I’m there for you” despite the hidden pain, the ambivalence within all love relationships. She’s hip to the double-edged coin of love and hate in the lovers’ bed. It is a grave disappointment when you discover love’s perfect imperfection.

A perfect end to a disc filled with truth and no small measure of ambivalence about love, music and the state of the world. This is a credible leap to relevance  by a maturing band.

The DVD is an incredible document, flaws and all. The band members act as if the cameras are running. They don’t seem to require makeup for blemishes or towels to wipe off the sweat. They don’t pose or play rock star. They don’t do a rock star primp and strut. It was shot by three separate cameras that give it a documentary feel. In word and deed it is a documentary of one of Michigan’s most evolved bands.

The DVD disc opens with Shar Molina’s wordless double tracked vocals and a cascading soundscape of heavenly harmonies. It evokes a sense of transcendence that is painted in day-glow colors and reflected within a prism of other-worldly love…

If you want to see and hear the real truth about Some Points In Between you can buy the package for only $10 @ website



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