Neither the band or the majority of the expectant music fans knew quite what to expect when Scarlet Runner of Gilbertville, IA made the jaunt east to Mendota, IL on April Fool's Day. The three piece band won the house over with their energetic performance and Jason Christensen, lead singer and guitarist, felt "a lot of love" from Frizol's patrons directed towards Scarlet Runner.
The band opened with Let Me Be from the South Chain Gang CD released in '96 while an exuberant patron attempted to do headstands directly in front of Jason. Despite this minor "sideshow," the band played on with Me Tied from the Departure CD released in '98 and Someday, a new original piece. The first set also included The Gospel of St. Thomas (new original), Hurt and Pain, State of Affairs ( both from Departure) and covers by Chris Duarte, Freddy King, Herbie Hancock, and Kings X. The band which includes Jack Christensen (Jason's brother) on bass/ backing vocals and Jeremy Ackley on drums was fine tuning the house into their hands.
The second set featured mostly original songs and started with a new one called WETV. Crazy Chimpanzee from Departure followed. See You Cry, a crowd favorite, from South Chain Gang really got the house's attention. Big Legged Woman (Freddy King), The Ballad of the Incredible Shrinking Man, Holding On (both new), Soul Blanket (Departure), and the new Song For Murron continued to rave the mood in Frizol's. The set concluded with a raucous interpretation of the Beatles' classic Come Together. The crowd was hooked by this point.
Ackley's drumming and aura were getting the close up attention of a lady patron at this juncture and there were even a few more head stands, but the band went on without a hitch. The smokin' final set opened with Muddy Waters's Champaign and Reefer. The new original Without You kept things rockin'. The band concluded the fine show with three covers: Hey Joe (Hendrix), Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds (Beatles), and Hendrix's Are You Experienced? . The crowd's answer to the Scarlet Runner experience was to be impressed by this fine band with blues licks woven into their rock sound.
Scarlet Runner's live show does an excellent job of mixing songs from their two recordings, new originals, and covers which displayed the variety of musical influences that they have. Playing music live appears to be a blast for them. Jason Christensen does a fine job as lead singer and plays impressive lead guitar. Jack Christensen supplies key backing vocals and bounces around exuberantly while banging the bass lines. Drummer Jeremy Ackley, recent replacement for Luke Rathe who performed on the two recordings, fits in well with his new band. This young band works hard to develop their talent. Look for bright things from them in the future and check them out when they come to your area. They will be back at Frizol's Tavern in Mendota, IL on May 27.
Scarlet Runner has a nice website (www.scarletrunner.com) that lists their show dates. CDs and shirts can be purchased via the website, also. Email Jason Christensen (firstname.lastname@example.org) with further questions.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Pat Beals, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.