Last night (Tues, Jan 22) the Can Can hosted what may become a legendary event… Legendary in the vein that 20 years from now, people will be saying “Remember when…” But before I get to the juicy middle, let me start at the beginning.
Seattle Sound Magazine, in the glowing morning of their existence, has been getting behind a ton of local music. Seems everywhere I go these days they are sponsoring the show. Not only are they getting their name out there, they have good damn taste and last night was no exception. They teamed up with Redhook , who brought a ton of free beer to fuel the fires (THANK YOU REDHOOK!) for what seemed to be a pretty standard, self promoting, yeah thanks for the free drinks, sort of gig.
Things began a little peculiar as I walked into the Can Can and got a KOMO news camera poked in my face (look for my mug on the news.. I’m famous!) It seemed strange, but.. I’d never been here before and maybe this was standard procedure. The Can Can itself is a dark harem looking place complete with red stage lights and lots of fabric hanging from the walls that certainly lend it to the vaudeville and burlesque it’s widely known for.
So a couple free beers later the show starts.
Lonesome Rhodes took the stage armed with a poorly mic-ed acoustic guitar and a chair. It was run of the mill singer-songwriter stuff. Nothing to write home about or write you about, so I’ll move on.
By now the KOMO camera was set up stage right, a microphone was centered in the room and the “face” for the news was feverishly jotting down the happenings.
The Roy Kay Trio came on next. Now things were starting to pick up. Roy Kay is a Rock-A_Billy threesome in the classic config of rhythm, and lead guitars with a stand up bass. They are a local Seattle group have been together since 2001, putting out a couple albums and playing a steady stream of shows all over the NW. They picked and grinned (and BOY do they grin) their way a full set that was great, but still nothing seemed to warrant the buzz in this place.
Next there was a lot of to-do from the MC thanking everyone and their mom (really, he thanked Vince’s Mom.. but you’ll understand that later) and even Ellen Degenerate. (sic)
That’s when the bedazzled Vince Mira took the stage. Here was a 15 year old kid, standing all of 5 foot nothin’. His hair was loaded with palmade and coiffed to look a whole bunch like a young Ritchie Valens (a REAL young Ritchie Valens), a guitar hung from his shoulder and the squeeky voice you’d pretty much expect from such a person peeped out as he took a minute to thank everyone for coming out. He explains that he’s going to be playing a few Johnny Cash songs, cues up the band (Roy Kay Trio were backing) and that’s when 200 jaws hit the floor.
From the depths of this kid’s soul came a voice like a distant thunder. It was like a Wizard of OZ moment, as if a 25 year old Johnny Cash were standing behind the screen singing whatever Vince Mira mouthed. The tone, perfect. The inflections, spot on. The song was Johnny’s Blistered and that’s what everyone’s eyeballs were becoming from being propped open like saucers-never blinking. Vince Mira… nay.. MISTER Vince Mira was amazing. Johnny Cash was rolling over in his grave-but only to get a better look.
The set continued with and what became very obvious was that Vince was incredibly thankful for being where he was, for having the talents that he has. He brought up friend and family to the scene. Everyone that helped him get to be who he was played along with him and shared the lime-light. He played a couple songs with his friend Michael Vermillian -Cold Hearted Woman and Since You’ve Been Gone -that they had co-wrote. The songs had the sadness and torment that perfectly complimented his low and lingering voice. Then Alex the Lion joined him for a couple verses of Folsom Prison Blues. The Lion, you see, is his 4 year old nephew. Well on his way as well. This was followed by Walk the Line which shamed Joaquin Phoenix’s version down-down-down into the ground. Then Vince’s brother in law, Daniel Rodrigez joined Vince for a span-glish version of Ring of Fire-Fuego del Amour. Daniel had taught him how to play and was honored by Vince for having done so.
Now a little history about Vince Mira. Vince had been a busker in Pike Place Market, playing his Cash cover songs for…well, cash. The Market Association liked him enough to invite him for the big centennial celebration where all the market icons came to play. Now one local Seattle music icon, Stone Gossard had heard Vince’s set at the Market Anniversary-from his car apparently. Three days later, he called Vince to ask him to be a part of the Hank Williams tribute album he was putting together. Vince told us this story and was so humbled by the fact that Stone Gossard’s caller ID came up on his phone… “I was pretty nervous. I mean Stone Gossard was calling my house” he says “what would YOU do?” So to complete the circle, Vince and The Roy Kay Trio did Hank the honor of covering Your Cheatin Heart. Again, done so well it was as if Mr Williams was there in the room himself.
To finish off the set, Vince invited his friend, 14 yr old Hannah Weeks to perform one of her songs , which was breathtaking in an of it’s own self, and then they sang a couple duets. One by Brandie Carlile, The Story Duet and then the classic Jackson.
Vince once again paid tribute to his roots by having the Can Can dance duo, the Castaways, perform their interpretation of his closing song Closer as he played. The Castaways had helped Vince get his start by having him play for them at the Can Can in the very dawning of his “career”. What was he… 12?!?
We left the Can Can during the encore… simply because we have full intentions of seeing Vince Mira play again and wanted to save something for round 2.
Now not only has Vince gotten the attention of Pikes, Stone, Seattle Sound Mag and the Can Can. He has gotten the attention of John Carter Cash, Johnny’s and June’s only son. They have collaborated on an album together which was recorded at Cash Cabin (built by Johnny) and is coming out soon titled, what else, Cash Cabin Sessions. Vince is also apparently going to perform at THE Folsom Prison in the near future further following the footsteps of his hero.
So, there you have the “legendary” portion of this story. If you want to check out the show for yourselves, Vince Mira will be playing the Triple Door on the 26th of February. There are 2 shows, 7:00 and 9:30. I suggest catching them both. The show is a CD Release party as well so you can get your hot little hands on a copy of Cash Cabin Sessions.
Rock ON Mr. Mira.