Canadian-born Jason Charles Beck began teaching himself piano at the age of three. Some 30+ odd years later, we've come to embrace [Chilly] Gonzales, a world-class pianist and all around "entertainist".
Last night, the London-based musician began his month-long residency at Joe's Pub. On this inaugural night of his "piano talk show", Gonzales entered the room with a generous dose of artistry, donned in traditional bathrobe, holed socks and bedroom slippers. Beginning the evening with 2 classical pieces, it's evident that Gonzo knows both the importance of melody and the proper way to keep a crowd gasping for more.
Moving from traditional arrangements into his keyed interpretations of what we classify as "popular rap songs" (complete with his conversational vocals), not a moment passed without the audience enraptured, smiles plastered on face.
"Are you ready to get chills?" was the next tease Gonzales threw out. Knowing that each night of his residency would feature a friend and special guest of his, we eagerly anticipated the arrival of Sia to the stage. First up, the two paired up for a smooth rendition of her song, The Girl You Lost to Cocaine. After a few moments of banter, Gonzales suggested they do another song, to which the Aussie popstar replied "I've lost my lyrics sheet though!" No worry, the crowd generously offered backup vocals on their duet/cover of Time After Time. Even when she's mumbling and humming along, Sia's voice cuts through like none other.
Capping off a night of pure enjoyment and top-notch talent, Gonzales played a thrilling mix of well known songs in a medley of massive proportions. Beginning with Fame, leading into I Need a Hero, he then smoothly adjusted into Hotel California before finishing with a trek into Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight. Truly a perfect cap to the evening
If you've yet to secure a ticket for Gonzales' 3 remaining shows at Joe's Pub this month, I'd highly recommend doing so immediately. [tickets here] Not many treasures like he are witnessed so frequently, so make haste and prepare for a radically-delicious experience.
mp3: Sia and Gonzales - Time After Time (Live)
mp3: Gonzales Allstars - Lets Ride (Megamix)
mp3: Gonzales - Lets Ride (U-GO-B Disco DJ Friendly Edit)