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Empty Spread 

by ANTHONY STASSI & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & walked into the Spread on Saturday intending to review Lions in the Street, a Rolling Stones doppelganger from Vancouver, British Columbia, and one of the many bands recently spewed out of the area's enigmatic classic rock revival. I got a little sidetracked, though. Nino Moschella and his bass-driven band the Little Big People, diverted me with their brand of voodoo, bayou funk.

Moschella, 29, who rotated among drums, keys, and vocals, dominated the attention of all 15 people in the bar. Even the guy in the Motorhead cut-off was tapping his foot. Moschella's gusto was contagious. At times, he seemingly channeled the soul of Al Green and the funk of Dr. John. And while the music bore resemblance to its predecessors (i.e., Prince, Sly and the Family Stone), it maintained a fresh, raw feel. The direction of the set was unpredictable, which is more than I can say for Lions in the Street, who came off as a singing, dancing, wax museum exhibit.

Sadly, the funk wasn't getting the love that it deserved. The dance-floor should have been full; it wasn't. People should have been having a blast; they weren't. After one song, someone in the back yelled, "Play some death-metal already!" Unfazed, Moschella returned with some playful banter and carried on. Maybe the embarrassingly mild turnout didn't keep Nino from feeling his oats, but chances are he's not dying to come back.

Apologies if we're beginning to sound like a broken record, but live music is a give-and-take relationship. Without reciprocation, the give will start to fizzle. It's becoming pointless to say, "Hey, check these guys out next time they pass through town" -- because in most cases, there won't be a next time.
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