We first became aware of Eliza Neals JCAST in Jersey City in 2016, after a recommendation from her neighbor and friend Janet LaValley. Our first time seeing her at a full-fledged concert was at Chan's in Rhode Island last year.
She returned to Chan's on this mini-tour, but we were delighted to hear that she was also playing closer to our neck of the woods at 9 Wallis in Beverly.
Eliza is a powerhouse vocalist who also plays piano / keys. Trained as an opera singer, she was mentored in the art of the Motown style by legendary singer/songwriter Barrett Strong.
The venue was delightful - a listening room with cabaret tables in an historic building in downtown Beverly. It was cozy with lots of stained woodwork and leaded glass windows. There was a bar in the back and they served appetizers and snacks. Best of all, the room sounded amazing!
Eliza knows how to work the crowd and she is a very dynamic stage presence. The set was a mixture of originals and blues rock classics. Some in the crowd were familiar with her, but she won over a bunch of new fans as well. They all seemed to be having a blast playing together. Her original songs are fun ("Livin' With Yo Mama" and "Take Your Pants Off" are especially amusing, but she can really show off her vocals in songs like "10,000 Feet Below"). Covers including "Can't Find My Way Home," "Red House," and "Ball and Chain" allowed for some extended high energy jams.
At one point she told the crowd that the next song was about moonshine, and joked that we must all know about moonshine, right? Well, it turned out that one of the band members didn't actually know her song "Call Me Moonshine," so they wuickly pivoted and launched into "Hey Joe" instead.
This iteration of the Narcotics includes:
Drums: Demarcus Edward Sumter
Bass: Lenny Bradford
Keys: Bruce Bears
Guitar: Frankie Maneiro
- Be My Husband
- Ball and Chain
- Livin' with Yo Mama
- 10,000 Feet Below
- Voodoo Woman
- The Devil Don't Love You
- You Ain't My Dog No More
- Red House
- Jekyll and a Hound
- Another Lifetime
- Can't Find My Way Home
- Hey Joe
- Take Your Pants Off
- Midnight Rider
Eliza recognized us and when she got offstage, she came over to give us a hug. We chatted with her and her husband Jay in the lobby after the show. They are both very down to earth and very appreciative of the support of fans who come out to see them.
The show was opened by singer Sarah Seminski and keyboard player Big Ben Hillman. We enjoyed their set very much. Sarah has a great voice, and they warmed up the crowd nicely.