It’s a mixed blessing that Palo Alto dynamic teen duo Remi and Chloe play tonight at Angelica’s Bistro in Redwood City. This is a step up from when I first met them at a Philz Open Mic (and followed them and their parents to watch them busk, above, in front of the former Varsity Theatre), but begs the question: why no music venues in Palo Alto?
I am missing the show so that I can partially answer my own question by attending a public meeting about the future of the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto, where I produced 150 events back in the 1990s.
Getting back to the subject at hand, Remi and Chloe are one of the most promising teen acts I have seen in a while. They pick good covers and are writing their own music. I think their parents have the right mix of being helpful and supportive but not pushy. I saw the girls at Camille Townsend’s kickoff event and understand they also stumped for Melissa Baten — both re-elected for school board.
We will see if as the following grows for Remi and Chloe if somehow there is an urgency and an outcome towards building a scene here. I understand that David Byrne’s new book has a chapter on building your own scene.
There’s another video of Remi and Chloe that I tried to post then deleted in that it would not embed; it says “mash-up of Gotye and Nirvana” but I wonder if its more of a medley than a mash-up. It got me looking around for Jacqui Naylor, who does what she calls “acoustic mashup” in that she will sing the lyric of one song over the melody of a second, for effect. Here you can hear “My Funny Valentine” over “Back in Black”:
I remember running into Jacqui Naylor, with Art Khu and Josh Jones in Philadelphia, a few years ago.
Thinking about Remi and Chloe and the subject of repertoire or style got me looking also for: Lindsay Mac, Patricia Barber, Sharon Jones, Cat Power.
Also, Rene Marie in 2008 doing “Lift Every Voice” do the tune of “Star Spangled Banner” at a civic event and suffering a tremendous amount of backlash although Lara Pellegrinelli of NPR absolves her here.
Good luck to the girls and I hope to catch a show soon enough.
I don’t know if Lindsay Mac has ever played Stanford or Palo Alto but again that’s another case I would like to set right.
Patty Barber doing the same Bill Whithers classic (worth sitting through the 3 minutes bass solo by Michael Arnopal to get there):
Then there’s Stanford grad KFlay doing her own mashup of Gnarls Barkley and Ginsberg “Howl”:
(note to parents of teenagers — f-word alert and maybe she’s more active than you want your teens to be, clearly, and references it)
I paid the Donnas $20 each and had their moms sign a release form in January, 1995 at Cubberley and watched them go from playing to a crowd 80 percent female, everyone their age and younger to, flash forward a mere three or four years, a crowd, at Bottom of the Hill, 60 percent male, everyone their age plus five years older; one of the moms showed me a film made at their 8th grade talent show, at Jordan. In this they are adult:
The question for Remi and Chloe is: how much can you grow this project and your audience such that it is reasonable to alter your college choices? A coffee house venue in Palo Alto like the old St. Michael’s Alley on Emerson would help a lot. The courtyard of 456 would also be fantastic. (behind the chain-link fence in the picture above…)
actually, if you are the mom or dad of a palo alto teen who you hope can use her singing to get into a good college, you will want to send her or them to Allison Miller’s singing workshop at Piedmont Piano on Sunday, November 12.