-Review #1, by Barry Lindenmuth
On a night where most of the talk was about a former member rock royalty; hometown boy Chris Forsyth and New York’s ‘The GOASTT” put on an amazing show. Admittedly I never put the two names together until Sean walked in. Thinking to myself that theirs probably many Sean Lennons out there. How I didn’t realize it a long time ago is another story…I’m just glad that on this particular night the snow didn’t stop the show from going on!
Philadelphia native Chris Forsyth, an electric guitar player, lead off the night with “Paranoid Cat” which he rocked out for about 10 minutes. All instrumental, Forsyth gave the crowd quite a show. Even giving us a peek at a song which he still tinkering with. It was uncanny the resemblance Forsyth had to George Harrison. At times I felt like I was in the 50’s, getting a sneak peak at future rock royalty. Silky smooth, Forsyth and his 6-string gave the crowd a short but rocking set.
Fresh off their performance on the Jimmy Fallon show, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, rocked the house at a sold out Johnny Brenda’s Friday night. The duo, who have been together a little over 2 years, have a sound that totally had me wondering where they had been all my life. I figured this was gonna be another band featuring a famous person’s child. I was totally wrong. Sean Lennon has a sound that is all his own, and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, who if she gave up singing would have no problem being a model, really blew me away. I’ve always been a lover of the acoustic guitar, so this duo was a real treat to watch. During “Candy Necklace” I found myself mesmerized by Charlotte Kemp’s voice. Its easy to get caught up with her looks, because she’s stunning, but her voice is angelic.
To say Sean Lennon has a sound that’s all his own, means he’s not up there duplicating the sound his father made famous. Between songs he joked with the crowd about everything, at one point even taking a pic with someones “Flat Stanley”.
Between the rocking guitar from Chris Forsyth, to the folky feel of “The GOASTT” this was easily one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to! The fact that both groups hung out and signed every autograph and took every single pic with wanting fans, made me love them even more.
-Review #2 by Katie Miller
I am a Beatles fan. Have been for years, will be for years, all that. So yesterday when I got a phone call from a friend saying that Sean Lennon would be playing at Johnny Brenda’s that night, I was beyond excited. I had heard a few songs fromFriendly Fire, a solo album of his that came out a few years ago, and liked what I had heard. He is now performing and touring with Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, a band consisting of himself on acoustic guitar and his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl on the acoustic bass.
Being the son of John Lennon puts Sean in a pretty dark shadow. Standing around the bar waiting for their set to start, it was impossible not to hear all the whispers of excitement about seeing John Lennon’s son play in such an intimate venue… and hey, I’m not gonna lie, I was one of those whisperers. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for him to be working so hard to establish his own music career just to hear all the comments about his parents and their work. But, on stage, Sean didn’t show any frustration. He didn’t mention his father once and only mentioned his mother once or twice, joking that because of her active beliefs in equality for woman, Sean makes Charlotte carry all their gear when they set up for and break down after shows. He and Charlotte both had great personality on stage, bantering back and forth and talking to the crowd almost like old friends. The couple joked about their luxurious car ride from New York to Philadelphia (in a van during a snow storm), their accompanying brass player being a “real” musician (he had, apparently, attended Julliard), and the clever originality of their new album title (it’s called Acoustic Sessions).
Their set was made up completely of songs from their Acoustic Sessions album, except for a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Girl of the North Country,” and a version of Sean’s solo song, “Dead Meat.” Charlotte switched from playing the bass to the accordion to the recorder to several other instruments throughout the set, while Sean played acoustic guitar while tapping on a bass drum and a tambourine at the same time. At times the set was kind of rough, which is to be expected given the very few shows the band had under their belt. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the band; I didn’t know if they were actually going to be any good or if they were only getting attention because of the whole Lennon thing. But I really enjoyed the show they put on. They were up there doing their own thing, and I think they are doing it pretty well.
-Photos by Barry Lindenmuth