Long Island Entertainment
March 2000, Volume 4, Issue 3
L. I. Music Scene The Inn, Long Beach
It was like most Fridays this winter, brutally cold, vicious wind, very few signs of life on the streets, it seemed like a complete wasteland in the oceanfront city that was my destination. It's funny, though, sometimes the best trips you make are the ones you question the most. Surely there had to be a better plan than a journey into a frozen night to see a band that I could see at several points during a month. Cue the epiphany.
Okay, so maybe the savior didn't show up, but I'll tell you what, if he had...he would've been an X-Session fan. X-Session, the trio that was the lure for this expedition, are an unassuming trio of veteran musicians that play rock favorites old and new. They don't dress flashy, they don't try to incite moshing and they don't do a blessed thing in their set that they don't do fabulously. Lead vocalist and drummer Jim Del, bassist/vocalist/harmonica man Eddie Profet and guitarist/vocalist Pat Montefusco compliment each other like a miniscule number of other bands do, creating awesome harmonies and making it look easy. This trio is what being a musician is really all about, god given skills to make music and make it sound great. As The Inn continued to fill up through-out their first set, X-Session went about creating a good time, party atmosphere.
The group's repertoire is an even mix of current pop faves like "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and classics like "Touch Me" and "Take It Easy." Del handles the majority of lead vocals with a versatile, qualitative voice, though Profet showed off his rich, velvet voice on Dobie Gray's classic "Drift Away." Montefusco also got a chance to show off his fine singing when the group revved up to cover Tom Petty's "American Girl" and CCR's "Who'll Stop The Rain." The musicianship kept in step with the singing to make the whole set shine.
What really made the evening special is some unusual song choices, including a delightful reading of Looking Glass' "Brandy" and Stealer's Wheel's nugget, "Stuck In The Middle With You." A fired up take on Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" showed this band at its most energetic with galloping version that had the crowd swinging. X-Session also did Crosby, Still & Nash's "Suite:Judy Blues Eyes" and the harmonies here could easily stand up to the original, and CSN might very well have been the greatest harmonizers of the rock era.
There are a lot of good, quality cover bands on the Island, and I've had 20 years to see a good number of them. X-Session is really uncommon, a gifted group that plays to strengths, delivers a set list full of unexpected, pleasant surprises and offers an evening that will keep a 45 year old and a 20 something happy. Whether it's a frozen evening or a pleasant spring night, X-Session is worth a visit. You may not have an epiphany, but you will be very pleasantly surprised.
Review by John Blenn Photos by Joni Blenn
Used with permission of John Blenn of The L.I.E.
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