Triple Door--2nd Annual Elvis Birthday Tribute
Friday, Jan. 7
Review by Gwendolyn Elliott
Vince Mira and his band took up residency>"/>
Review by Gwendolyn Elliott
Vince Mira and his band took up residency at the Triple Door last week for a string of shows featuring rockabilly-inspired sets in honor of Elvis Presley, who would have turned 75 Saturday. But the tame, rain-soaked Seattle crowd that filled the booths during Friday's early set--mostly older, mostly women, and mostly eating noodles--were anything but rowdy, and the scheduled 10 p.m. performance was canceled.
By now, most Seattleites know Vince Mira's story--the Latino teenager found busking at Pike Place Market singing Johnny Cash songs in an eerily similar baritone--and the show started on that note. The young performer breezed through his first set on the strength and clarity of his voice, including everything from Cash ballads he knew by heart, like "The Long, Black Veil," and brooding, bluesy traditionals like Leadbelly's "In the Pines." But when Mira and the band returned after a 15-minute intermission, his boyish, quiet confidence was replaced with sheet music and a predictable photo montage of the King.
Pushing catalog standards like "Jailhouse Rock" and "Love Me Tender," the second set rolled along with the lilt of a "Greatest Hits" infomercial--all energy and no soul. Even with a convincing Elvis-like snarl, Mira was simply going through the motions, and was noticeably less comfortable in this territory.
The show succeeded, if only because Friday night's two performances were rolled into one and the whole band was relieved because of it--Mira and company were simply not as enthusiastic to revisit Elvis' back pages as they were to rock out to Johnny Cash. But Elvis fans held court with other Elvis groupies, and in the end, folks left snapping their fingers.
Ultimately, though, Mira excels not in his mimicry of '50s pop, but in his every step forward as a veritable vocal talent.
Overheard at the show:
"This guy's, like, 12 years old"--an unknowing audience member referring to Mira's tender years.
"Want to head up to the Hard Rock?"--some dude trying to reel in an after-party
"All I see is old women in blazers eating noodles"--me, upon observing the noticeably older crowd.
Personal bias: The boy I interviewed years ago just after being "discovered" is no longer that. Mira has matured so much that from the profile he looks like Michael Cera from Youth in Revolt--with a wispy shadow of a mustache and those shifty adolescent eyes. No longer the boyish, bashful busker with the Man in Black's voice, Mira holds his head higher, and his voice is deeper, more textured and melodic. If he can train his sights on a clear ambition, it will be exciting to see what his future holds.
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