Wednesday, October 31, 2018

An Evening With LUCIA MICARELLI - Event Review from Benaroya Hall 10/29/18

Lucia Micarelli

Benaroya Hall
Seattle, WA

(All Photos:  Solaiman Fazel)


I had the pleasure of reviewing an artist I've known about for many years - Ms. Lucia Micarelli. My first exposure to this talented musician was way back in 2003 when she was the violinist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I stayed to go through the meet and greet line and met her briefly as she signed my tour book. Lucia went on to work with the likes of Josh Groban, Chris Botti, and Jethro Tull just to name a few.

On Monday evening, Lucia was front and center, with a group of wonderfully talented musicians performing with her. At any given time there was one to six musicians alongside Lucia. Violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, and piano were the main instruments with the encore being performed on banjo as well.

The set list was a wide range of classical pieces such "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber, standards like, "Someone To Watch Over Me", and tunes from the series "Treme'" like the beautifully haunting, "This City".

Lucia performed with the greatest of ease and emotion. Much of the performance playing with her eyes closed as she played straight from the heart, Lucia was inspiring to watch and listen to. Her voice, which isn't mentioned as much, is a striking combination reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan and a bit of Diamanda Galas' (lower register).

The band of musicians truly came across as the friends and family (hubby) as Lucia described. Many solo artists can get studio musicians to bang out the music charts with the greatest of ease but live they come across as hired hands. Not this bunch. Musicians of the highest order, they felt like a band of friends performing. There's no faking or hiding that. It made a world of difference in my opinion.

There was a brief intermission during the two-hour show. I loved the eclectic approach to the set list. Seeing that we're Eclectic Arts this event checked off all the boxes when it comes to shows we like to review.

I also want to mention Lucia wore her emotions on her sleeve and it was refreshing to see an artist pour themselves out to the audience. That's when more than just connections are made with the fans. Lifelong memories are created. I applaud her willingness to bare it all musically and emotionally Monday evening.

Artists of all types always inspire me but when they are the caliber of Lucia Micarelli - it becomes an event that is tattooed on my psyche. A grand concert by a top-notch artist, Lucia elevates any piece of music she writes and/or performs. The audience at Benaroya Hall was treated to one beautiful night of music that none of us will soon forget. Thank you Lucia!

All the best,

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB
EA on IG

Special Thanks: Natalie - thank you very much for the opportunity!





Thursday, October 25, 2018

Make It Happen - "ON YOUR FEET!" Opening Night Review! 10/23/18

On Your Feet!

The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical

Paramount Theatre
Seattle, WA

(show runs through Sunday 10/28)

(all photos:  Matthew Murphy)


I was excited to see this show months ago when I learned it was coming to Seattle for the first time. As a fan of Gloria Estefan's music (but never having seen her perform live) this musical would be the closest thing to seeing her perform.

What I expected is basically what I got as "On Your Feet!" opened on Tuesday evening at the Paramount in Seattle. I knew the music would be fantastic (with 6 of the original Miami Sound Machine musicians in the touring band) and I expected an overload of Latin-based rhythmic dancing. The storyline of how Emilio and Gloria met, their early struggles, their crossover barriers, and the very well known near death experience (the tour bus accident) were told succinctly throughout the performance.

Christie Prades as Gloria and Ektor Rivera as Emilio carried the show with ease. Talking, acting, singing, and dancing throughout the performance, both worked well together as an onstage couple.

Christie has made the role her own since taking over many months ago for the US touring production. She at times sounds like Gloria both in speaking and singing which is uncanny. Her performance was a pleasure to witness. 


Portraying Gloria's stubborn mother, Nancy Ticotin walked the line beautifully as the misunderstood mom that later sees the light and supports her daughter. Alma Curevo stole the show in many of her scenes as Gloria's grandmother. Funny, endearing, and supportive, Alma brought the heart and humor to the show early on.

Eddie Noel as Gloria's father was a critical component to the show. Not just with the story, his condition later in life, but as a performer, Eddie made many in the audience stand up and take notice - particularly when he sang. Beautiful sounds emanating from the stage when Eddie let his voice carry throughout the Paramount.

If you are a fan of Gloria and Emilio's work, then you'll have a great time. You'll hear many of the songs that made them famous. If you're a fan of Latin based dancing, you'll have a great time. If you're not familiar with either, it's hard to say what you'll think. If you go in expecting a more traditional musical, you won't find it here. However, if you go in and want to learn about an immigrant family's journey to the U.S., their battle to make it in a biased music industry, and overcoming personal odds, you may walk away a fan. Hopefully, you do.

I for one enjoyed what I saw and heard Tuesday evening. As a fellow person of color, I could relate to some of the storyline and found it refreshing to see so many (if not all) of the cast of Latin or Spanish descent. 


The musical is timely considering what is going on in the United States right now. Regardless of which side you support - "On Your Feet!" will get you thinking and that's never a bad thing.

The show is here through Sunday the 28th. The "Conga" awaits when you see "On Your Feet!". Are you ready? Here we go …

"1, 2, 3, 4".

See you at the theatre,
Mark D. Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

EA on IG

Special Thanks: Julie for the credentials - as always thank you so much for the opportunity! I appreciate it!

The show runs through Sunday October 28th with great seats still available.TICKETS!



PSA: Thank you to the majority of the patrons that knew when to let loose during the show and when to be a respectful theatre audience. Unfortunately, an exception to that was in my very own row.

This really needs to stop.

When you're at home, do whatever you want. When you're at the theatre with over 2000 other guests, please be respectful of the performers and your fellow attendees. I don't care who you are, it's only courteous and polite. Thankfully it didn't keep up for the whole show otherwise I would of put a stop to it. Believe that. This is the second time I've encountered this time of behavior at a place where I honestly didn't think I would. Concerts - yeah, it's annoying and depending on the band and the venue, I know when to expect it. But at the theatre? And the Paramount no less? Of a touring production? Please people - get a clue and enjoy the show without talking or making noises (I can't believe I have to type that but I do after the Les Miserables noise experience back in June). Please.

Thank you for your consideration.


Mark Sugiyama reviews, photographs, and interviews for his media outlet - Eclectic Arts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A R.O.S.E. By Any Other Name - JESSIE J. Event Review from Seattle, WA! 10/6/18

Jessie J.

Ro James

Kiana Lede'

Showbox SoDo
Seattle, WA


Multi-platinum artist Jessie J. performed in Seattle on her R.O.S.E. tour last Saturday night. The line outside the Showbox SoDo had a wide range of fans waiting to get close to the rail before the show began. Different ages, races, genders, you name it - they were represented at this show.

It's hard to accurately emphasize just how personal this show (and album/tour) is to Jessie J. I can't recall ever covering a show where the artist was so candid with the audience, incorporating spoken word passages during wardrobe changes, and explaining some of the meaning behind the new songs to the audience.

It was quite evident that the new album is a journey that Jessie J. found herself on over the last four years. The songs are sharply personal portraits of the trials and tribulations she went through. They are also triumphs as her willingness to share her own struggles are not only helping some of her fans through difficult times, but are quite cathartic for the artist herself. She mentioned this more than once how it is taking some getting used to performing the new material to an audience as it brings her back to those moments of hardship.

Realisations. Obsessions. Sex. Empowerment.

For the casual fan that was at the show - they wanted to hear the hits (which she gladly performed). However, the intimacy and vulnerability aspect of the show may have caught a few fans off guard. I found it profoundly refreshing to see an artist be so daring in her authenticity with herself and her audience.

Jessie J. is a powerhouse vocalist, songwriter, producer, and entertainer. The hits like "Masterpiece", "Price Tag" and set ender, "Domino" got the crowd going crazy. The medley of "Real Deal" and "Not My Ex" stripped down the pop for the more personal aspect of her songs. Songs such as "Queen" from the new album also demonstrated just how raw Jessie J's new material is - and again - I applaud her for not just doing the same old, same old. She has really opened herself up to her fans and I am willing to bet the new material is resonating with many people out there that are facing their own personal demons and struggles.

Backed by a four - piece band, Jessie J. showed, without a doubt, why she is a rare talent that no one should ever overlook or count on to be predictable. She is forging a new path in her career and I for one am looking forward to what comes next. With "R.O.S.E.", she is showing an honesty rarely seen in mainstream music. She is leading us on a journey that is so personal, make sure you stop and listen to what she's saying. It's important stuff that we all can benefit from.

All the best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

EA on FB
EA on IG

Special Thanks: Bryan for the credentials - thank you very much for the opportunity!

(click on any image for a larger photo)

Ro James

Kiana Lede'

HYUKOH - Happiness In Seattle! Event Review for 10/2/18


Showbox at The Market
Seattle, WA


International band HYUKOH performed in Seattle on their "How To Find True Love and Happiness" North American tour Tuesday evening. Having sold out the majority of their shows (maybe all by the time you read this), the anticipation was extremely high outside on 1st Avenue.

Under grey skies and a smattering of raindrops, the line of fans waited eagerly for the doors to open at 7:30pm to run to the barricade to claim their spots. Predominately a younger crowd (as evidenced by the ample room in both bars at the Showbox), the energy raised to a feverish pitch by the time 9:30pm rolled around.

The lights dimmed and the four-member band walked out on stage. The roar was deafening accompanied by the higher pitched screams from the female fans in attendance.

The band put together a great set-list with songs such as "Wi Ing Wi Ing", "Panda Bear", "Citizen Kane" (heard in a recent iPhone Apple commercial), "Tomboy" (personal favorite), and of course "Love Ya!"

The band (for those unfamiliar with HYUKOH) have been branded as indie rock, quite the stark contrast to the K-Pop/K-Rock many in the west associate with Korean artists. The band, the sound, and the songs were on point all night long. Fender being the brand of choice for the three slingers while a Ludwig kit was holding down the rhythm. At times the guitar riffing had a splash of surf and punk going on - just enough for me to notice. The songs, which have been sung in different languages, were basically hit after hit all night. There was an authenticity about the band and how they came across live - most likely due to the fact that there were four musicians up there playing their instruments all night.

The audience cheered every time a new song started up. The mostly Asian (or Korean specifically) crowd couldn't get enough of HYUKOH. This being my first time seeing the band live I could understand why.

I'd love to see the band in a theatre setting. I think a place like The Moore is the next logical step for the band as it holds roughly 600 more people than the Showbox at The Market.

I would of loved to have heard a longer set (they played around a 70-minute set), especially considering they only had one opener. But, any time you see a great artist, you want to hear a longer set.

HYUKOH were brilliant Tuesday night. If you were there, you already know. If you missed them, don't miss them the next time they hit your town. You'll be as impressed as I was - I guarantee it.

OHHYUK (vocal, guitar, producer)
HYUNJAE (guitar)
INWOO (drums)

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

EA on FB
EA on IG

Special Thanks: Su for the credentials - thank you very much for the opportunity!

(click on any photo for a larger image)