Eliza Neals is like a small dynamo on the stage. Looking at the photos we took Saturday night, most of them show only a mass of blond hair and a slightly blurred body..
Since the stage at Darwin’s in not huge, this means that guitarist Howard Glaser and bassist Daryl Lee did not have a lot of room to move. Drummer Chalie Korch was, of course, safe behind his drums but Glaser and Lee had to be careful, Glaser retreating and then moving forward to deliver blistering guitar solos while Lee stands stalwart and as solid as his bass playing. Even with care, Neals still managed to hurt her finger, bashing it on Glaser’s guitar, as she showed us during the short break. Assured it’s not broken, she moved on to greeting everyone who wanted to buy a shirt or CD. She offered to cut my “Breaking and Entering” shirt like hers to show some cleavage but being of a mature age and since my husband likes to borrow my band shirts, I declined. (“Breaking and Entering” i the name of Neals’ highly successful album.)
Then it is back to the music. During the evening, Neals and The Narcotics play a variety of songs from “Breaking and Entering” and some great covers, including the Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” and Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle.” She is both tough and sultry in a way that reminds me of those girl groups out of Detroit in the sixties. In fact, this particular lineup of The Narcotics all have Detroit roots, even though Chalie Korch and Daryl Lee are now based in Atlanta. Add to that that Neals counts Barrett Strong, the writer of “Money (That’s What I Want) and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” among other great Motown songs, as a mentor and you understand that attitude that comes across so strongly. This is a woman who can handle herself and you too! She even performed one of Strong’s songs from the album, a B-side she found and changed from a male point of view to a female one. It’s called “Sugar Daddy” and the audience laps it up.
Eliza Neals is a great singer, and her show is a lot of fun. She’s a friendly, approachable soul, too and she has a great partner in Howard Glaser, who i a legend himself as a guitar player. Atlanta audiences have long loved Daryl Lee and Charlie Korch, so it was a special treat to see them with her. They form a tight band,who, as the name Narcotics implies, deliver just the medicine you need musically. and make you feel good!
It was a good crowd at Darwin’s but it should have been more. Next time Eliza Neals comes to town, you need to get there, Darwin’s should have people spilling out the doors. That’s how good Eliza Neals and The Narcotics have been at Darwin’s both times they have been there. She rocks!