The Mint LA was packed shoulder to shoulder when Dessy Di Lauro, resplendent in a brilliant white dinner jacket and her red hair exploding out from beneath a black skullcap took the microphone and called out to the audience, “Are You all ready to have some fun?”As“Yeah!” echoed around the venue, she and husband piano player-accordionist, Ric’key Pageot danced in a tight circle on the stage leading the audience in clapping, finger-snapping and singing their signature song “Let Me Hear You Say Hep Hep” . The party was on and the room was lovin’ it.
The band was opening for New Orleans-based Big Sam’s Funky Nation, whose horn-led, jazz rock rhythms kept the momentum going as part of the Hunnypot Live Music night at the Mint. Max Nickou opened the evening, warming up the growing crowd with sky-high guitar chops and solid rock with a twist.
Proving again why Parlor Social is the undeniably best live act in Los Angeles if not the nation, their “Feathered Fro-hawk- Futuristic-Art-Deco-Centric-Harlem-Renaissance-Hep-Music” electrified LA’s oldest rock venue, with people stomping, singing, dancing and waving as the 7 piece band did a damn good impersonation of Cab Callaway’s full orchestra with Lauryn Hill and Outkast sitting it. Sans their traditional dancers – the stage was simply too small for three or four more people to move around on it – they provided the dancing energy themselves with Di Lauro in constant motion, dancing over to the horn section, singing to the drummer, pairing up with Rick’ey in front of the microphone while he swayed with an accordion.
As a gift to the audience Hunnypot made time for – and parlor Social delivered — eight songs, including two new ones, the recently released “That’s Just the Way” and “Higher Place”. Dessy had a chair brought up to the stage for her smoking hot rendition of Screamin’Jay Hawkins’ 1956 song “I Put a Spell on You”, immortalized by Nina Simone. I think it was re-immortalized by Dessy Di Lauro Friday night as her voice moved from bedroom sultry to operatic urgency, sending chills down everyone’s spine and completely filling the room with a power that I have not experienced before.
Friday night was Parlor Social’s last LA appearance before they leave July 8 for the Montreal Jazz Fest in Montréal and Ginny’s Supper Club in New York City, but they will return to LA August 2 for gigs at the Vibrato Grill and the Edison, with a side trip to the Blue Note Napa in Napa. If you are within a hundred miles of any of those venues on those days, be there for the best live show you will ever see.