Friday, July 20, 2007

Review & Photo’s by Mark Fredell

Well for better or worse it was Friday the 13th. And even though I don’t really buy into all the superstition and folklore about such things, I don’t go out of my way to walk under ladders or break mirrors either. It was Friday the 13th and it was a very stressful even sad day for Ana Popovic and her band while in route to their gig in the Twin Cities they received word that the drummers father had passed away so once they got to town they dropped him at the airport to head home to Chicago to be with his family then Ana and her bass player needed to decide what they were going to do. Now I don’t know how many options they considered but I do understand they tried to find a replacement drummer for the nights gig to no avail, then they decided to simply go it as a duo for the night and thank god for small favors. As I arrived in the club the sound man saw me and asked if I would do the intro since the usual MC (Paul Metsa) was not there for the evening of course I was happy to oblige so he took me back stage so we could let them know, now at this point I didn’t know anything was askew so as I greeted Ana she immediately told me the situation with much concern and I told her not to worry I would introduce her and she could let the audience know what was going on.
So when the time came I welcomed the crowd and told them that there was an unusual situation going on and that I would let Ana inform them of the details, I introduced her and she and her partner in crime took the stage, seated on a couple of bar stools sans drummer, she greeted everyone and told of the drummers loss, then said this was the first time she had ever been onstage like this (without her whole band). She picked up an acoustic guitar and off they went. Ana’s singing was terrific, her playing superb and astonishingly she was able with the help of her bass player to hold the notoriously disinterested Famous Dave’s crowd seemingly spell bound not just through the first set (which by the way clocked in at nearly 90 minutes) but she held the room for the second set as well culminating in a hugely enthusiastic standing ovation just shy of 12:30am that demanded an encore. For a young lady from Serbia that is without doubt and the rock (and jazz) side of the blues this particular night tragedy and all was perhaps one of the best performances I have seen her give, just she with guitar and voice and the accompaniment of electric bass. Sitting down it was relaxed and soft, beautiful in everyway. Ana Popovic showed why she has so quickly become one of the darlings of the newest generation of blues/rock players. She ended the night with the title track of her latest release ’Still Making History’ and said good night with these words, “thank you so much this night has made this tour for me, you are the best.” What an incredible night. See you in September Ana.


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