Red Room Orchestra: music fr *Twin Peaks,* 2/15/19
I heard the Red Room Orchestra at Symphony Space on 2/15/19, performing music from *Twin Peaks* and other David Lynch creations. The Red Room Orchestra is a new group, founded in 2017 in San Francisco by Marc Capelle. Capelle is their musical director, plays keyboards, sings, plays the trumpet, does some arrangements.
I saw a few episodes of *Twin Peaks* when it was first on, when I was in college. I was a little fascinated but not really into it. I became a Lynch fan after that, a pretty devoted one - - how many people do you know who saw his three-hour abstract epic *Inland Empire* in the theater? And LIKED it? I was most intrigued when I heard that Lynch was doing season three of *Twin Peaks,* following up with the story and the characters after a 25-year absence. My Lynch comrade Scott Seyforth watched it and loved it, said it was "more human" than the original series. I watched seasons one and two streaming on Netflix and got season three on DVD from Netflix. I loved it all.
Angelo Badalamenti has done music for Lynch since *Blue Velvet* in 1986. He is to Lynch as Bernard Herrmann is to Alfred Hitchcock, as Henry Mancini is to Blake Edwards, as John Williams is to Steven Spielberg. In each case the director would not have had the successes he had without being aligned with the composer. My favorite bit of trivia about these four composer/director pairs is about Mancini and Edwards: Mancini wrote the score for many movies directed by other people besides Edwards, but Edwards never directed a movie that didn't have a score by Mancini.
The audience was young and groovy, many of them younger than me, which means they were in middle school or high school when *Twin Peaks* was first on TV.
I was intrigued to see that Margaret Cho was performing with the ensemble, doing "Vocals, Spoken Word." One of the first songs was performed by Karina Denike, who had a strong, appealing voice, but a somewhat stilted stage manner. Seeing that Roy Orbison's "Crying" was on the program, I assumed it was her who would be singing it. Imagine my shock when it was Cho who sang it. She didn't have the chops to do the song justice, but her earnest attempt had a strong Lynch quality.
The musical high point of the concert was an electric guitar solo by Allyson Baker. She had played guitar in the ensemble throughout the show, sang backup on a couple songs, sang lead in one song, she was fantastic. Her look was a big part of her performance, so please allow me to describe her: she's short and skinny and her hair was a jet black shag. She was dressed in a black blouse, black jacket, black pants, and black shoes (probably boots, I couldn't tell from where I was sitting). Her guitar was creamy white. She played the solo line in a rockabilly 12-bar blues number, with her back mostly to the audience (in the theatre we'd call it "three quarters closed"). It was profoundly sexy.
The emotional high point of the concert was a couple of performances by James Marshall, who had played a troubled, hunky young guy on the original series, and 25 years later, was a troubled, skinny (but sinewy) older guy. Here are two performances by Marshall of "Just You," one from 1990 or 1991, the other from 2017.
Marshall sang this song and played the guitar at the performance I saw and it was so moving to hear him sing it in person.