Ana Popovic Band : An Evening at Trasimeno Lake DVD
Ana Popovic Band – An Evening at Trasimeno Lake
Rick J Bowen
Give Ana Popavic a ton of credit for playing hardball in what many consider a man’s game, namely the world of Electric Guitar. She has been touring hard for over ten years making a name for herself on the blues scene and with guitar enthusiasts worldwide. Filmed in 2009 on the Blind For Love tour, An Evening At Trasimeno Lake is another benchmark on her remarkable career.
Born in Belgrade, not known as a bastion of the blues, Popovic picked up the guitar at fifteen with her father’s encouragement and the influence of his vast record collection. In 1999 she was signed to Ruf records in Germany after studying at Utrecht Conservatory and has been on the road ever since. Now an artist on the Electro Groove roster, Popovic got the chance to return to Italy with her band and play the Trasimeno Lake Blues Festival for a second time, seizing the opportunity to film the show for her second live DVD. The concert setting is amazing: an amphitheater stage back-dropped by the Rocca Medievale’, a medieval castle built in 1247 on a hot summer night. Popovic is quite the blonde bombshell decked out in studded knee high boots, leather pants and a sequined bustier, but don’t be fooled– her 1964 Stratocaster is loaded for bear. She makes it perfectly clear she is here to shred as she rips into the opening song and sings “you’re messing with the wrong woman.” Popovic is a cold calculating tactician on the guitar, and this DVD is meant to showcase all of her formidable chops. Her songs cover a wide range from driving blues rock to funk and jazz, giving her room to stretch out on the frequent guitar solos captured in close up detail. The burning slide on How’d You Learn to Shake It is a standout, and she gets playful with the audience on the classic blues shuffle, Let me Love you Babe.
Thankfully, director Simone Pucci has also chosen to give plenty of screen time to the crack rhythm section who join Popovic and give relief to those who tire of her fiery fret work. On the bass is the highly animated Ronald Jonker, who plays off the authentic groove of Chicago drummer Andrew ‘Blaze’ Thomas while Michele Paradia, an Italian jazz artist in his own right, adds amazing color and soul on the keyboards. A fine pair of horns and backing vocals were added to several of the more funk oriented numbers like Nothing Personal and Get Back Home to You. Unfortunately, the director cut into the sax solo with one of the side vignettes of Popovic walking around the castle walls before the show. These extra bits are interesting and add color to the DVD but are oddly placed throughout the concert. The only time her smokey alto gets a real showcase are the two acoustic numbers in the middle of the show when Popovic casually sits on a stool and swings with the band on Doubt Everyone but Me and the neo soul ballad Blind for Love. The show ends with the full band joining in on the political rouser Hold On, raising the audience to its feet to sing along.
The disc bonus features include an interview with Popovic giving us a glimpse into the world of this hard working woman trying to balance family and career. Additionally, two videos of her performing songs on the acoustic guitar in various locations at the castle are charming for their ambiance but a bit cheesy for an artist that so wants to be taken seriously. Overall An Evening at Tresimeno Lake is a well produced DVD aimed at her loyal fan base featuring great camera work and high quality sound. The mix on the vocals at times is a bit too clean to be believed as a live performance and could be a bit more ambient and include more crowd response as to not feel so canned, but her guitar certainly does sound great!
Originally published in Innocent Words April 2011