Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Live Performance Review: Cinco de Mayo at City Limits with Ziggy Pockets, Luke Kaufman and Sunny Ledfurd

Artists: Sunny Ledfurd, Ziggy Pockets and Luke Kaufman
Venue: City
Limits Saloon Raleigh, NC
Date: May 5, 2011

So Sunny Ledfurd, Ziggy Pockets and Luke Kaufman are a different kind of country than I'm used to, definitely out of my realm of knowledge and comfort zone, but I gotta say they put on one HELL of a show for Cinco de Mayo at City Limits Saloon last week. I'd seen Ziggy and Sunny perform in February at the same venue opening for Randy Houser and loved them. This was my first time seeing Luke perform and I'm not gonna lie, I'd never even heard of him.

Let's start at the place all good things start, the beginning. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, hell it was so pretty you would have thought you were actually IN Mexico for Cinco de Mayo had it not been for the fact there was no beach and no donkeys carrying the boxes of beer on their backs to the venue. Deep South Entertainment was the production company for the show and they always do it right.They had the big stage set up in the parking lot with plenty of good lighting and sound equipment, not the small set up you see at some outdoor block parties. This show was handled the same as an indoor show would have been and they didn't disappoint. The parking lot was filled with vendors such as Corona with their Corona girls walking around selling beer, a food cart with various edibles such as gyros, nachos, hot dogs, fries and soft drinks. There was a little something for everyone's taste which is awesome since not everyone just likes a hot dog from a hot dog cart. There was also a tent set up with artist merchandise and might I add, VERY economically priced merchandise. Love that these artists don't let their own merchandise costs cut into what's important, beer funds. Now before I get to the music itself, I have to preface this review with nothing but HUGE honkin' country drunken kudos for the owners of City Limits, Kevin and Patrick. They've managed to give Raleigh what it's been wanting for a LONG time, a reputable venue that consistently plays real country music that's actually good by well known artists at a reasonable price and not this second rate crap "music" you hear at other bars. City Limits provides a fun, safe, relaxing atmosphere with a great outside deck to hang out on when the NC weather is at it's best and an upstairs area with tables and chairs if you don't want to be in the "mosh pit" by the stage. Oh, and they have great drink specials with the friendliest bartenders and that's always a thumbs up in my book. City Limits is THE place to be in Raleigh for a good time and especially for good music.

Ok, now back to business ... the "show" business.

Unfortunately I did not get to see much of Ziggy, who was the opening performer because he came on a little early. I did hear a little from the deck and he was really good but I knew that already from seeing him in February. This time it was just Ziggy and his guitar and even though he came on early to a smaller crowd, they really seemed to like what they were hearing. He did come back out later with Sunny, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Up next was Luke Kaufman, and although he was pretty humorous, his music wasn't really for me. I don't know if it was just me, but he sounded very off key and not really singing in time with the music he was playing. I'm hoping it was just me so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and bought his cd to see if it sounded any different. Unfortunately to me, it just wasn't good, but to each his own. There were plenty there that knew every word to every song and danced their hearts out, obviously loving it and that's what counts. He's made his notch in the "off beat country" belt.

He makes an awesome artist for a drinkin' party though, I will admit that because he is all about the drinking and the women and he consistently made sure the audience had a beer in hand. LOL! I did like his song about someone being a witch and him being a bull riding son of a bitch though, had a good beat to it. Would I buy anymore of his music, probably not, but there are some artists that are good at entertaining the crowd more than focusing on good vocal ability and that's more of what he is in my opinion, an entertainer rather than a serious artist and that's ok. After all, he is a cowboy baller!

Now, it was finally time for Sunny Ledfurd and the crowd was pumped and ready to throw down for the final performance of the night and I was right there with 'em. Sunny is a mix of country, hip hop, pop, acoustic, and Lord knows what else, but the dude was freakin' ridiculous! I'm not a fan of the new "hick hop" but he had my feet tapping and my head bobbin'.

I fell in LOVE with his song "Pontoon Boat" and "Adderall". Ziggy Pockets was up there rapping along in "Adderall" and it was supercalifragilistifreakin' awesome. I swear whoever manufactures Adderall should use this song as it's promotional "jingle" because I don't take any medications but if I did, this song would sell me on some Adderall. LOL! Sunny has never been given the credit he deserves both as an artist and as a musician. Anyone that can tune a guitar with a beer can has my vote! Don't ask, but it was definitely witnessed! His songs are basically the soundtrack of his life, his autobiography and tales of his experiences. He's not your typical artist by a long shot.

Think Kid Rock meets Colt Ford meets someone who hasn't even been discovered yet. That's Sunny Ledfurd. If you like the hick hop country rock, this is your guy. The crowd LOVED it, every drunken, swaying back and forth, yellin' "Hell yeah" moment of it.

Way to go City Limits for yet another night of great entertainment and a night out of the house to meet up with friends. You're my kind of venue and with you guys, I love that there really are "no limits" to the entertainment you bring to this town.