Finnish Cool meets Brooklyn Soul, or vice versa...
whichever it may be, Janita encompasses both.
Taking the stage shortly after 9pm with her bandmates: Wes Hutchinson - guitar, Alan Markley - keyboards, Brian Kesley - bass and Bryan Bisordi on the drums - they quickly set the tone with "No Excuses" and "Martian", the most driving song of the evening. Dominated with intense guitar riffs, pushing drums, and great vocal intensity, the audience quickly gets drawn in - tapping feet and nodding heads. As the night progresses Janita takes you through storylines of life of heartbreak and hope.
Halfway through the set she transports you into the scene of smoke-filled clubs from years gone by with "Hopelessly Hopeful" and "Haunted", a mix of jazz and r&b and 'haunting' intensity. By this time Janita has encompassed herself into her performance giving the attitude of cool silence between songs - only briefly engaging the audience. The band has the music on lock-down - never overplaying - yet adding the perfect amount of colour and attributes with exceptional technical skills and feel.
A pleasant surprise to the night was their super-percussive rendition of Tom Waits, "Clap Hands". This author has always believed covering a TW song is 'do-so-at-your-own-risk' - and they executed it wonderfully by capturing the true essence.
Rounding out the evening 'Do We Learn", a shuffling 6/8 groove showcasing the range and intensity of her vocals and "Out to Get You" a more up-beat, danceable song, they close the night leaving the audience wanting more.
Janita has a wonderful dynamic range that is never over-sung nor thins out when she reaches for the upper register and her stage performance is all-flowing, never overdone, as she immerses herself into her music, and with a great set of talented musicians backing her, makes it for an enjoyable evening of music.
In short, Janita is like a good Scotch...full, bold, with just the right amount of bite, that gets better with age.
For more info: Engine Company Records