Novice Theory; The Magic of Delivery @ Joe’s Pub 4 /5 /08
Novice Theory’s first headlining show at Joe’s Pub was sold out. The young Geo Wyeth rose to the occasion and delivered a charismatic captivating set exhibiting performance acumen, timing and delivery.
Novice Theory’s theatrical entry accelerated the anticipation, as he walked through the upper balcony playing the accordion. He turned to face the crowd to sing above the stairway as the patrons in the reserved dinner section raised their heads in an upward gaze. He descended the stairway towards the stage, the stoic presence of the baby grand awaited.
Without restraint he hit the keys in breakout classical mode, abstract chords and rough-cut jazz. Bringing on vocals of authenticity and forceful finesse creating an edge of the unexpected. His charismatic performance style was revealed as he broadly struck the piano keys adding expressive facial mannerisms and head-moves resembling involuntary whiplash.
While the songs content are emotional and centered around his core identity, he juxtaposes them with buoyant keys and short scats leading to provocative lyrics. / I am not an idol / you can rub me down / I live in this fiction, but this is reality to me / this is skin with a capital T.
Ten glorious songs in, Geo took a brief intermission and came back up through the bleacher section for act two. Once again accordion in tow, singing a trance Irish-style ballad called “About A Dream” conveying a father and son forging the frontier of maleness in battle and hero fantasy. Not a sound could be heard only the wayward voice of grit.
He continued on stage singing “I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost” (a Magnolia Electric Company accordion cover) Followed by a very original take on piano of the Cat Power song “I Don’t Blame You”. The closing song “In The End We Listen” was a showstopper…/ praise all the holy names / save some from my fall from grace / ……in the fire / in the fire / in the fire……. The audience clapped in time to the striking build up.
The crowd rose to their feet as Geo left the stage, only to return saying he would do one more. Hitting a piano key for pitch he sang a rap with stompn’ snap, displaying his broad repertoire. With confidence and flair he kept the audience fully enthralled.
Special guest Carol Lipnik opened with a short but memorable set accompanied by Dred Scott on piano. She is a vocalist and songwriter with a dramatic stage style. Her vocal range soars and applies a broad strokes to the images she paints in song. The ground beneath me is slipping again / I’m not falling / I must be floating /. I have never heard a range so dynamic. Her deep resonating alto and a high octave range is not operatic but artistic and mesmerizing.
Flickr Photo Set
Before the show I asked my husband how I looked. He said, “You’re overdressed. It’s a jeans crowd. It’s the Village”. Well I looked nice but not nearly as colorful as the crowd assembled. They reminded me of the John Waters Pink Flamingos release party I attended in the early seventies in Baltimore. Get the picture!