The Singer/Songwriter Showcase
Witzend
Review by Ross Anthony

Brick wall background, narrow wood stage, and a handful of warm cozy rows with tables and chairs hosting a respectful group of music lovers. The night's acts filled the room (roughly 70-80 people). By respectful, I mean they were focused on the performers. The stage is owned by a singer/songwriter who reminds comers via the website: "Please appreciate that Witzend is a listening room. We ask that you not chat during the performances. We do allow a 10 minute break between shows that allow you to chat with the performers, purchase merchandise of whatever. Thanks for listening!!"

As a musician and writer myself, and lover of original live music, I appreciated this request, and therefore looked forward to a visit to Witzend. However, while everyone got a menu, not everyone got the memo. There still were plenty of wonderful people enjoying themselves on a Saturday night, and chatting was part of that. That said, the main floor of tables and chairs appeared to be nearly chatter-free. So, I'd recommend calling and reserving yourself a seat or two in that region. I'd also encourage Witzend to print their "mission request" on napkins or coasters as to brief the innocents.

A singer/songwriter ever hour on the hour - what else could you ask for? The first act, "Sweet Talk Radio," was literally pregnant with smooth harmonies and syrupy guitar work. The lead songstress looked to be 8 months "with child;" acoustic guitar on her belly, I couldn't help but envy the musical leg-up resonating the soon-to-be newborn within. Not so sure about their title, but this small group was sensational. We loved their music. An updated and coed version of Simon and Garfunkel, they even played "Feeling Groovy," confirming one of their influences. The sound mix/amplification was perfect.

The second act had some singing chops, but, perhaps because of the illness she mentioned, went a bit flat more than a few times. That said, the third act, "Moi Navarro," brought the house down with a rich, colorful, powerhouse voice, amazing pitch control, a bright rhythmic guitar, and songs bursting with Latin passion and robust dynamics. It was as if God jam-packed so much music into Moi, that, exceeding capacity, the music pressured its way out of his body, even forcing him to stamp his feet with percussive accent. Amidst the originals, Navarro did a cover of U2's "Still haven't found," besting Bono on the high end verse melodies. He announced several times, so I could not forget, that he's playing there every 3rd Saturday of every month until the end of his life. I not only recommend catching him, but I plan to stop by again to see him and a few singer/songwriters new to me.

Witzend offers food and beverages. I quite enjoyed the cabernet, and the pizza was pretty good as well. However, if you intend of having dinner, best to order early (opens at 7pm), since the small kitchen's stock gets eaten up as the night goes on, by 9pm we were told that only half of the modest menu was still available to order.

Overall, my lovely girlfriend and I had a wonderful time, good people, great music in a cozy intimate setting -- we'll definitely be back.

-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --


  • Based on the February 16th, 2013 performance at Witzend Venice, California.


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Monday, 18-Feb-2013 11:42:13 PST