Trina Hamlin/Terry Gonda/Colleen Sexton
Boulevard Place Cafe
Friday, Jan. 6
Terry Gonda (right) and Kirsti Reeve perform at Boulevard Place
The family atmosphere of Boulevard Place Cafe, which has been open for 18 months now, definitely lends something to the general feel of live shows. There's just something so right about listening to low-key singer-songwriters while kids play Candy Land in the back of the room. It certainly was the right venue for the trio-plus-one of Trina Hamlin, Terry Gonda (with Kirsti Reeve) and Colleen Sexton.
Hamlin, a frequent Indianapolis performer and veteran of the old Cath Coffeehouse, aims for the poetic with her lyrics, striving for atmosphere over storytelling, and has a way with assembling words, such as the phrase "Technicolor dream come true."
Terry Gonda, backed up by flutist/vocalist Reeve, has a softer edge than Hamlin, but is no less painfully haunting as she weaves complex tales of mixed emotions. Her renditions of "Someone to Watch Over Me" and (of all things) "When You Wish Upon a Star" are heartbreaking.
Colleen Sexton performed from the old-school camp of message musicians, sounding a bit like pre-electric Dylan, less pissed off but just as cynical. Which isn't to say she's overly serious; she's just nutty enough to do an acoustic cover of disco classic "I Will Survive."
The performers played in the round, separately but also together, jumping in to back each other up. It had the feel of a jam session in progress, experimental and unpredictable, hearing the song evolve in real time as one by one the others joined in and the sound thickened ever further.