Pete Morceri review - Jan 16, 2000

Pete Moceri - Tacoma, WAPete Moceri
Live at the Harmon Brewing Company
By Hotbands Editor - Pat Ferris

and Tacoma Reporter Editor - StacyEmerson

Since I've been back in Seattle, I've had the opportunity to plug in to many different artists and promoters that have been essential in developing the live music scene in the Northwest.  One of these is Stacy Emerson from the Tacoma Reporter, who turned me on to several Tacoma clubs that cater to some of South Puget Sound's best bands.

Stacy wrote a short bit on Pete which I'll print first, then follow up with my own input based upon seeing him perform live this past weekend at the Harmon Brewing Company.

Pete Moceri Band - Moments of  Levity (Flying Cherubs)
By Stacy Emerson

A couple discs came sliding across my desk this morning (a TV tray that’s been painted so many times it puts graffiti to shame), and I was happy to see they were local folks.

Anxiously, I threw the first little plastic flapjack in… then BANG! - The first cut, "Leave it Alone", is a cool blues rocker (reminiscent of Stevie Ray) – followed by a rompin’ blues thang, "Don’t Wanna Love You".  My favorite cut, "Happier This Way", is a Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo era song with an infectious chorus (permanently in my head). The title track, "Moments of Levity", with its 4-on-the-floor drummin’ by Jad Simpson, KICKS ASS! Then you have the pro keyboard work by Johnny Burgess and powerful playing of bassist Viren Lemmer. These guys are on to something GOOD.

Sitting home on a weekend isn't something that I have done in ages, so if I get an invite to see some live music within an hours drive, I'm usually in the car and on my way, so when I got the invite from Stacy to see a hot blues/jazz band at a place called the Harmon Brewing Company which is a local micro-brewery, I was on my way.

I arrived at the club as they started their first set, and just kind of hung out in the background listening and watching the crowd.   Each club in the Seattle scene has it's own breed of customers, and the Harmon Brewing Co. was more of the sophisticated type choosing to sit and listen rather than mosh. 

The band was definately well-rehearsed with intricate lines, endings, and hooks that couldn't be pulled off at a "jam" session of musicians.  I came to find out after the fact that the keyboardist (veteran Doug Skoog) was a sit-in because their normal keyboard player had another committment that nite.  You would have never guessed it by listening to them.   In fact, Doug's playing was one of the first things I noticed that set the band apart from most other bands...very funky, tight, complicated playing that you could expect to hear with any top national act.  After they played I mentioned how much I liked Doug's keys, and he said "This is the first time we've played together...I got called up at the last minute to play the gig tonite"!  Pretty unbelievable!

Pete's songs and vocals reminded me of Jazz great Mos Allison, who I saw at a jazz club in San Francisco a couple of years ago, but with a slightly harder edge, like any blues/rock guitarist would add to a jazz sound.   Overall, I was impressed with the musicianship of his band (even the sit in keyboardist!!...I wonder what their MAIN keyboard player is like!), and look forward to hearing his music played on the Northwest Jazz stations soon.

His brand new CD, Moments of Levity had it's debut on our radio talk show last week and will be available to the masses soon thru MP3 and other sources.  Stay tuned to our site and bookmark this review for added information as soon as it's available.