Celebrating Andrew with The Southern Belles – Villian & Saint – Bethesda – 1/13/17

NOTE: Live Music Daily is currently working on a full exposition of Andrew’s life of passion for music, friends and family. In the meantime, here are two accounts of Friday’s celebration at Villain & Saint. Feel free to comment & share any stories or memories.

Words & Photos by Josh Brick

The Southern Belles played a special show at Villain + Saint on Friday, January 13 in honor of the late Andrew McConnell of Live Music Daily. Surrounded by family and friends alike, we shared a night together in Andrew’s element – a great live show.

The Belles treated the crowd to an extended set featuring original songs including “Money on The Side,” “Wreck” and “Big City.” The band was tight and focused, despite the fact it waste be the Belle’s last show with bassist Andrew Carper.

The show peaked with a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s epic, “Whipping Post.” Emotions were on high as we all wished Andrew was there to rock out with us, although his presence was felt throughout the room.

The four piece rock outfit hailing from Richmond, VA closed out the night with a great rendition of “Foxy Lady” that left the crowd wanting more. It will be remembered as a special night in Bethesda, MD for both the band and all in attendance.

Cheers to Andrew McConnell – we miss you, bud.

Words by the Carly Shields

On Friday the 13th, some friends got together to celebrate the life of writer/promoter/news editor/talent buyer Andrew McConnell at a concert he booked for a venue he was so excited about. He loved the bands, too: Fletcher’s Grove and The Southern Belles, who were so happy to start working with him in this capacity. Villain and Saint in Bethesda, MD, is a nice room with some space to dance, a great bar with a good sound system, and all around friendly vibe. It was obvious right away what Andrew so liked about the place.

Fletcher’s Grove played a killer opening set, weaving Americana rock songs with psychedelic jams and unique covers for everyone to enjoy. The Southern Belles took the stage around 11pm, opening with three new songs from their forthcoming album. These tracks all tell a story, an epic really, ushered along by the progressive, yet accessible music they’ve been writing lately. The Belles then played fan favorites like “Money on the Side” and “Big City” with an “Away We Go” interlude, a more relaxed ballad that pays homage to the great souls who’ve passed on too young, and dedicated appropriately to Andrew.

Every song thereafter was a swelling climax of rock, the band giving it more and more with every peak. Adrian Ciucci, lead singer and guitarist, after the nearly two hour set, announced respectfully that this was going to their last show with bassist Andrew Carper, that he was a dear friend and all was well, but this was his last set with the Belles. He looked over at Carper and asked the audience, “How about we let him sing one?” The band instantly ripped into “Foxy Lady” and Carper sung his heart out. It was a show McConnell would have loved, would have been dancing harder than anyone front and center. And though it was a bittersweet night all around, the hugs came with smiles and the spirit Andrew worked so hard for was very much alive.

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