Much like Greenville’s Hyperchina, I have to tell you Secret Monkey Weekend are one of my favorite bands. I have been involved in a great recording project with them that we will talk more about in the future. This Durham, NC band is a real treat. They are a family band, led by dad Jefferson Hart on Vocals and guitar, and featuring his seventeen year old daughter Ella on bass and vocals as well as their secret weapon, twelve year old Lila on drums and vocals. For this show they were augmented by ‘Uncle’ Tim Smith on keyboards.
Tonight at the Station, they played a strong set of older Jefferson songs, some great originals he has written with his daughters, and some very cool covers. As you might imagine, Secret Monkey Weekend are a band without artifice or pretense. They are just fun. Jefferson, a diehard Fender guitar man, had a new ‘Jimmy Page’ model Fender Telecaster that sounded great. Young Ella is an amazing bassist, playing with precision and plenty of oomph. Along with her sister Lila, they bashed through some great original songs, like ‘Maybelle’ (about the family dog), ‘Candy Station,’ a Bo Diddley rave up about the concession stand at the movies, and ‘Honey Num Num,’ a softer, catchy earworm. Uncle Tim was great at filling in the gaps on keys.
The band is always aware of their North Carolina roots. Tonight they did a great cover of Don Dixon’s (tinyurl.com/zubimbibe) ‘Your Sister Told Me,’ and the dB’s (tinyurl.com/zubamplifier) ‘Big Brown Eyes,’ Ella really killing the latter on bass. Watching this band always makes me smile and feel good. The girls are young but they are great musicians. Secret Monkey Weekend reminds you every time how much fun music can and should be.
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