Playing Around: Velvet Jesi 

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The first time I saw Velvet Jesi play, I thought, "Great -- fantastic -- another Seven Mary Three cover band, just what this town needs," but after the second song, a rocked-out cover of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," I was impressed -- and attentive. Regardless of who they're covering, Velvet Jesi has an uncanny knack to nail the tune, due largely to vocalist Jason Ropeter's Rich Littlelike ability to sound just like the original singer. It's cover-band stage craft catapulted to vocal performance art.

It helps that the band is a tight, focused group of highly proficient musicians. From Metallica to Urge Overkill to Filter, bassist Joe Zucker, lead guitarist Scott Dye and drummer Jacob Ropeter (Jason's brother) seem to never hit a wrong chord or fall out of sync with each other.

Considering most bars in this town spend the week pumping out Top 40 crap via satellite radio stations, Velvet Jesi is a refreshing live version of the "alternative" and "classic" rock we're all stewing in anyway. This is a band who's definitely worth watching, especially if they ever use their musical powers for good instead of covers.

-- Kristen Sherwood


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