Miss Jessica and the Sugar Shack Attack

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By Suzy Williams

Sept. 1 – Now it’s….Sugar Shack time at Danny’s Venice.

Miss Jessica Long is dolled up in blue-green, end-of-summer, empire paisley skimpiness and the highest, daintiest of sparkly shoes, too delicious looking to be true.

Johann on guitar is paying sweet, subtle homage to Motown. “Baby, baby, I love you.” Peter Marshall has switched from acoustic giant wood bass to a good old Fender, and does a wild break with Reggie Longware on drums. “Thank you, Peanut Gallery,” purred herself when the song was over.

Next, Al Green is up on the charts, but Miss Jessica doesn’t read off a book. She’s just out there with her blinding brunette beauty, sharing a taste of intimacy. Hoop earrings, tall raven hair, her voice rising in praise or a piss-off, oh, with plenty of low notes. “I know you’ll never let me down,” sung so low (how low can she go?) An on-key, on-the-dime, rhythm-perfect, pure, unadulterated pleasure.

A crescent-moon shaped tambourine in her hand, legs that don’t stop.

The Sugar Shack genre is obscure R&B, seriously soulful but saturated with a great deal of fun.

This is a local band. “We’re local heroes,” said Jessica in response to a fan calling them national heroes.

Yet though they are relatively new, about a year and a half on the scene, they can now take their place next to Alfred Johnson, Freddy Ginns, Kathy Leonardo, Leon Reubenhold, Michael Jost, The Shoo Flies, Black Shoe Polish, Frank Strasser, Stephanie Valdez and all the august coterie that makes up our Venice music scene.

The last number in the first set was the classic “Willow, Weep for Me,” a swinging original version, with two marvelous wails, just in the moment: Willow! Willow!. Then the set is over, and now it’s already September at 8pm, and the sun is already down.

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