August 5, 2011 - Jimmy Gnecco

Jimmy Gnecco is probably best known as the front man of the long running band, Ours. They don’t seem to play much anymore, but Mr. Gnecco has branched out into a solo career, too. And last year, he released his debut album, “The Heart”. And tonight he was finally stopping in Dallas, specifically The Prophet Bar, to play some songs from it.

There was only one opening act on the bill, and it was none other than Ryan Thomas Becker. You know, the singer/guitarist for RTB2, guitarist in The Slow Burners and Hares On the Mountain, plus a few other acts. But he was just solo tonight, and this was the first time I’ve ever seen him in this format. He got on the stage just a few minutes after nine, got his set list and capo out of his pocket, grabbed his guitar, and began his first song. And for his second tune, he did “Seek Fire, Anime Kids”. It was pretty toned down, and not nearly as explosive as the version found on the “Neighborhoof" album, but I thought it sounded even better this way. He took a break after that to introduce himself, "I’m Ryan Thomas Becker. I’m from Denton…" he said, as he used his hand to point in the general direction of the town, before introducing the next song. He said it was written by an old, blind Texas songwriter, Leon Payne, "Who also wrote Lost Highway." he added, "Which was, of course, made famous by Hank Williams." The song Ryan did was called "Psycho", and he said it was one of his favorites. I’ve never heard the original, but he did an incredible cover of it. And I thought it was the best song he did this show. He did another song, then promoted the only copy of his album he had for sale at this show, before playing the final song from it, "So Speak”. Another tune followed, before he covered one by fellow Denton band, New Science Projects. I believe it was “The Train”. And then, it was time for the final song of his 35 minute set, “Whistle”. “This was written by a real old blues musician.” he said. “His name was R.J. (he hesitated for just a split second) McBluesfoot.” Solo, he’s more reserved on stage and doesn’t put forth the same energy as he does in RTB2. Which only makes sense. And honestly, singing wise, I thought he sounded better alone. He is definitely one of the best, most talented musicians currently in the music scene.

It didn’t take long for Mr. Becker to get his stuff off stage, and the three members of Jimmy’s band got everything ready and did a sound check rather quickly. Then, they just disappeared. They were teases, no doubt. But they were worth it.

The lights finally dimmed, and at 10:20 the keyboard player, the lead guitarist, and Jimmy Gnecco, who had an acoustic guitar, walked through the doors that lead to and from the hallway, and walked on stage. While the drummer entered from the door at the back of the stage that leads to the green room. There was a decent sized crowd amassed (probably at least 40 people) and they were certainly glad to see the band. Cheering and applauding their arrival on stage. I believe the song they opened with was an Ours song, and as it ended Jimmy held his guitar up in the air and he strummed it at the same instant their drummer banged on his kit, to start “Patiently Waiting”. “Well,…” said Mr. Gnecco, when the song was finished, “You can probably tell this isn’t an solo acoustic show.” and laughed a bit. “We’re going to be doing a lot of songs tonight.” he continued. “Current songs, old songs, new songs that haven’t been recorded. This next one is a new one… It’s called Devil.” And, upon finishing it, he said he hoped everyone liked it. Liked it, no. I thought it sounded amazing, and I thought it was the best song they did all night. They continued with a few tunes from “The Heart”, including “These Are My Hands”, “Mystery”, and the title track, “The Heart”. On the album it begins with some clapping, and their guitarist set the rhythm, while most of the fans quickly joined in. I believe another Ours song followed (guess I should’ve brushed up on my Ours songs before this show) before they did “Bring You Home”. “I wrote this song a few years back.” Jimmy said of “Bring You Home”, “When my mom was in the hospital, basically dying. And I just wanted to bring her home, cause that was where she wanted to die. But now, we play this song every night in honor of or military men and women, in hopes that they’ll return alright.” Knowing all of that, the song does fit both scenarios perfectly. And it’s cool how a song, years after writing, can take on an entirely different meaning than the one it originally had. I think “Ran Away to Tell the World” was the next song, then they did “Days” and another tune, before doing, I think, “Murder”. And somewhere in between those songs, Jimmy talked about this tour. Saying it was the best he’d done in twenty-four years of performing. “I don’t know what it is. If it’s the order of and what songs we’re doing.” The guitarist nodded his head in agreement at that. And he then made mention that this was the final show of theirs for this tour. He set up the next song, and Ours tune, by talking about the music video they made a few years back for it. The just of it was that people were being made/created, and the person that created them embraced them for their individuality’s. And he said that music video got a pretty negative reaction from a lot of fans. “I guess it’s kind of a crazy idea.” he said, before saying something to the effect that God makes us all the way he wants us to be. And since the song has a very soft beginning, their lead guitarist left the stage for the first half or more of “God Only Wants You”. They did a couple more songs from “The Heart”, “I Heard You Singing” and “Gravity”, in which Jimmy encouraged everyone to sing along, as it “…made it sound better”. “Well, Dallas. It’s that time of the night. We’ll leave you with this one.” Jimmy said, as they tore into their final song. The show had been incredible. I only saw Ours once, two years ago, and I immediately became a fan. And let’s be honest, Jimmy’s stellar voice was really what made the band, as he can sing like no ones business. And as soon as they took the stage you could feel the presence radiating off of them. People were wanting an encore, chanting for it and jumping up and down. I, however, thought it seemed doubtful, as they had already played over 90 minutes. But after a couple of minutes, they re-emerged. “I’m sorry, we weren’t ignoring you.” Jimmy said. “We were just trying to figure out what we could do.” As he offered up an explanation of the next song (I didn’t catch all of what he said.) It, without question, had the strongest Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe of any song they played this night. And that continued with their next and final song in their whopping 100 minute long set. I knew I’d like this show, but man, I was totally blown away by their performance. So yeah, it greatly surpassed my expectations. It might be awhile before they tour again, as he said they were going to go into the studio and record their new material, rather then play their current stuff for four or five years “…And have you all get tired of it.” But when they do start touring again, they are a must see!

At this point it was just a few minutes past midnight, so why call it a night so early? I walked down to Trees to catch The Raven Charter,but first I wanted to see if they were still charging a cover. They were. Really!? That late at night it was still ten bucks to get in, just to see one band. Yeah, not doing that, so it did end up being more of an early night then usual.

(Note: I’m not certain of all of the Ours songs Jimmy Gnecco an co. did, but I’m pretty sure some of them were, “Fallen Souls”, “Sometimes” and “Willing”. I think.)

(Random Side Note: Though I prefer the term “Penny Pincher”, I am a cheap bastard. Cover into the Prophet Bar was $15. Cover into the adjoining, The Door, was only $8. So I went to The Door side to save a bit. But what band do I tell them I’m there to see? I listened to he headliner beforehand. Nope, they sounded rather crappy. So I checked out the main support band, Video Lies. They just have a few demo songs up, but they sound awesome (especially for demo recordings). I’d hoped Jimmy Gnecco’s set would be over in time for me to catch Video Lies show too, but it wasn’t. Still, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give this female-fronted, Fort Worth based band a listen. They’ll be playing the Grotto in Fort Worth on Friday, August 19th, so check them out if you can. I know I certainly will the next time they do a show in Dallas.)

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