The Roosevelt Hotel’s renovation spawned a new bar on the Mezzanine, the Spare Room. With two vintage-style bowling lanes, a live band, and glam cocktails that rotate by the season, it is a chill yet upscale atmosphere for a few drinks with friends.
Thursday night we were lucky enough to catch the Leftover Cuties. Although the music first brings to mind old timey cabaret, it is an amalgamation of sunshine 60s pop and the syncopated rhythms of a New Orleans second line brass band.
Singer Shirli McAllen’s voice is distinctive, with just enough character to charm the audience without being affected. She sings confidently and reliabley with the warm tones of Tom Waits and Billie Holiday, the style of Judy Garland, and the precision of Sinatra.
The backup band is casual and lighthanded, which appears deceptively simple. But playing with that kind of restraint requires true talent. The beat is bouncy,with a nod to Spike Jones and perhaps a Foley artist. It is music to skip down the street to.
It was not until the next day when I checked out their website that I discovered they play the theme song for The Big C, a song that piqued my curiosity from the very first. In spite of the upbeat songs, there is a certain drama to the Cuties, the same dark irony found in cheerful songs like “You are my Sunshine.” In fact, I think I will download some songs right now and dance some old Bob Fosse numbers. It’s showtime!