Music in review: Ed’s showcases Ali and the Scoundrels and General B & The Wiz

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Kalika Valentine-Erickson/ Winonan

Since my 55-year-old dad frequents Ed’s “No Name” Bar, I will be honest when I say I was not expecting the establishment or the music to be something college students would enjoy. From the moment upon entering the bar, my opinion had changed.

At 9 p.m. on Halloween night, Ali and the Scoundrels, opened for General B & the Wiz, and performed the night’s live music. A bouncer stood at the door, in charge of the $5 cover charge to stay and see the bands. Neither my friend or I were expecting the charge, so it was a good thing I randomly had cash, since I very rarely do. The bouncer also checked my driver’s license and marked my hand to show I was of legal age to drink.

I can only describe the bar itself with one word: eclectic. The walls were red and there was interesting, but amazing art all over the walls. An opening connected two rooms; one room with a couple of tables and chairs, and the other room contained the bar and the stage where the bands performed made up the entirety of the bar.

After we got our drinks, I was able to talk with some members from each band, since the bar had very few people in it at the time.

Ali Fisch, the lead singer of Ali and the Scoundrels, said her band has been together for around two years, and they met when they went to school together at St. Mary’s University. They all live around the Twin Cities and perform two to three times a month around the area. She described the band as soul and R & B, and as soon as I saw the instruments being used and heard her voice, I knew this was the right description.

My friend described her voice as seductive, which was fitting, and various instruments accompanied her, including a trombone and a saxophone, among the traditional instruments. Most of the music was original, but they did do a few covers as well. They were great at keeping the crowd, which grew bigger as the night went on, engaged by dancing and talking to them.

Quincy Voris, the lead singer of General B & The Wiz said his band too formed when they went to college together, but they went to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. They won an open mic competition in college and have kept going ever since.

Quincy and his college roommate, Seth, who taught Quincy to play the guitar, founded and kept the band going for five years, with the other members joining shortly after.

Their music was also mostly original, with a couple of covers, and is described as indie-blues and psych rock. According to the band’s website, one song was described as “blending eras of doo-wop with honest, creative rock and roll.”

Voris has a unique voice, which gives the band itself a unique sound. The band was extremely engaging, charismatic and kept the crowd highly involved throughout the night.

Andrew Foss, a local musician and artist as well as a regular patron of Ed’s, and a friend of the owners since both were teenagers, had only positive things to say.

“As an artist and a musician, I really appreciate Ed’s,” he said.

His friend, Jeff Strand, said Ed’s is, “one of the best music venues of the Midwest.” This reputation has drawn a large music scene to the popular bar for audience members of all ages to enjoy here in Winona.

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