Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 05 July 2013 13:05

Concert review: Brave Combo takes the accordion rocking across the world and the patio at the Old Rock House, Wednesday, July 3

Concert review: Brave Combo takes the accordion rocking across the world and the patio at the Old Rock House, Wednesday, July 3 facebook.com/bravecombo
Written by Jason Warren
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Brave Combo has been an ambassador of the accordion for some time now, and the group brought its three-decade experience with world rhythms and fun to the Old Rock House for a show that ended up on the patio, at least for a while.

The accordion has to be a lonely instrument, relegated to oompah bands that play the Oktoberfest circuits and TV shows that resemble an SCTV sketch with no punch line. It was an instrument that was once the sound of the world. The squeeze of it drew images of cultures that were remote to the American experience. It was the sound of countries like France, Italy and Germany. The accordion has been sheltered as national instrument of Deutschland, as well as the Bayou country of Louisiana Parishes. Thankfully the accordion has not been lost in the swell of Americanized Oktoberfest; Brave Combo shows America and the world that it is still a vital instrument.

Brave Combo invaded St. Louis once again, bringing its joyful, enthusiastic and world-spanning music with it. There was no need for an opening act as these Denton, Texas musical renegades took over the Old Rock House with two hours of polkas, rumbas, tangos, twists and other assorted sonic ear candy. With their expansive array of genre defying sounds they kept the dance floor twisting, gyrating and moving in a polka frenzy and turned this rock club into a sweltering biergarten the night before America's independence celebration. This group of musical renegades truly represents America by bringing together genres and styles that make up our national heritage, and all done with drums, bass, guitar, woodwinds and, of course, accordion.

They launched into "Swingin' Shepard Blues" and it was the perfect opening to a night that touched at the bluesy music that is the heart of St. Louis, but done in a way that only Brave Combo could. In their hands the sound became a musical landscape that rested somewhere between the realm of zydeco and the shuffle of their home state of Texas.

"As everyone here knows, we play polkas!" leader Carl Finch announced in an enthusiastic tone that landed in the ears of the audience with the exuberance of rock and roll. The stein touting oompah band leader Finch and his merry band of minstrels have taken the traditional sounds of polka, cha-cha, rumba, tango, salsa, cumbia and many others and have given them a new relevance with a rocking attitude.

A night with Brave Combo is a night of surprises, anything can happen. Halfway through the show the audience was lead to the patio of the Old Rock House by Finch, woodwinds mastermind Jeffrey Barnes and the sultry Ginny Mac and the three put together a quiet moment, without the house PA and into the mugginess that is St. Louis summer, and it felt like a night in Paris. The trio moved from one end of the patio and out the patio gate to serenade those passing by the venue.

Each member is of the highest caliber of talent. Finch is the mastermind, playing guitar, keyboards and accordion and leads the band through a boisterous selection of songs that spans their career. Barnes, Finch's longtime conspirator, brought his winding array of woodwinds that weaved and bobbed from inspired rhythm, blues and jazz to perverting such traditional phrasing that it afforded his horns the chance to create something completely new.

Little Jack Melody is a bassist possessed by groove. He seamlessly moved from style to style without flinching, staring into the crowd and bouncing his head with each movement of his fingers. Alan Emert sat stoically behind the drums as if he was Max Weinberg and was given the chance to break out into as many genres he could lay his sticks to. But, Ginny Mac is a sight to behold: a seductive vision of sheer talent and beauty. Standing in her high heels with the accordion strapped to her, she weaved and bobbed through the music creating some of the memorable musical moments.

It was a night of fan favorites, new songs and requests that included "Do Something Different," "Tattletale Twist" and "Clarinet Polka." But there was one more crowd pleasing song to come and it required participation.

"This is a dance that you have all done, but not the way Brave Combo does it...It's time for the HOKEY POKEY!"

With that scream the band launched into what has a signature, funk laden groove that re-imagines the song and transforms it from the traditional wedding dance into a sound that restores the original cultural relevance.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe. Download their…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-grill.jpg

KDHX Recommends

August
Friday
29

Small Black, Scarlet Tanager

KDHX welcomes Small Black to the Ready Room, with Scarlet Tanager. This event is all ages.


August
Saturday
30

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014 Cave States makes its debut live performance at Harvest Sessions this week. The acoustic Americana band features veteran St. Louis musicians Danny Kathriner, Chris Grabau, Todd Schnitzer, John Higgins and John Horton. This free...


September
Friday
05

Art Outside

Art Outside is not an ordinary fair, but one that features art, music and plenty of food and drink from Schlafly Beer. Hosted at the brewery’s Bottleworks location in Maplewood, Missouri, Art Outside draws approximately 15,000...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

2 users and 13449 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook