12TH AND PORTER, NASHVILLE
OCTOBER 10, 2003
When singer/songwriter Angie Aparo took the stage at 12th and Porter, all the crowd’s chatter finally ceased. The acoustic sets of Teitur and Gus Black were often drowned out by it, but more on that later. Aparo was captivating from the moment he strummed the first chord of “Wonderland,” and anyone who has never heard him sing is missing out on possibly the eighth wonder of the world, because Aparo’s voice can simply move anything put in front of it.
After the first song, Aparo invited the rest of his band up, which on this night consisted of a drummer and keyboard player. They did several cuts off of his new CD, For Stars and Moon, including “Hard Woman to Love” and “Beautiful,” the latter being a song about strippers. Now come on, what says R-O-C-K more than a song about topless dancers? After another new song, “She’s All Right,” Aparo got the crowd involved with a tune from The American, “Hush,” by having them sing the instrumental melody line.
Known also for his cool choices of cover tunes, Aparo did a stunning rendition of Elton John’s “Rocketman” that may just be better than the original. Before a new song called “Child of the Revolution,” he talked about his eight-year-old son and how he (jokingly, I hope) is discouraging him from becoming a singer. After another great new one, “Sweet Loretta,” Aparo launched into the story of a song he wrote just before landing his first major label deal with Arista. His manager told him he should play a song called “Cry” for his live audition for Clive Davis, but Aparo couldn’t remember the lyrics. So he called his wife to have her retrieve them from a shoebox, played the tune and got a deal. Not only was it on Aparo’s debut record, but Faith Hill also recorded the song and made it a huge hit.
After another Aparo favorite, “Spaceman,” he came back out to do a three-song encore. The first was a cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” complete with a lesson on how to use a beer bottle to play slide guitar. Then he fulfilled a fan’s request to play “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains. The last song of the night was the title track from The American, which Aparo dedicated to his grandfather who passed away last Christmas.
I could go on and on about Angie Aparo. He is one of the best live performers I have ever seen, and he surely didn’t disappoint this time. There aren’t many singer/songwriters who can command attention to every note and deliver raw emotion the way Aparo can.
Before Aparo’s set was Universal recording artist Teitur (pronounced TIE-TOOR), a singer/songwriter from Iceland. Despite a lack of radio play for his new record in Nashville, a lot of folks knew Teitur from previous live shows here. His voice cut through nicely, kind of a cross between Paul Simon and Steve Forbert, and some of the best tracks were “Josephine,” “Fire and Ocean,” and the title track from his CD, Poetry and Aeroplanes. He was entertaining between songs too, saying that when people in Nashville say his name, it sounds like “Tater.”
Opening the show was singer/songwriter Gus Black, who a few years back released an album under the name “Gus.” Either way, Black, whose voice resembles a cross between Dave Matthews and Bono, wasn’t all that compelling, save for a really cool cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” The crowd even cheered when he announced it was his last song of the night.