Tag Archives: The Right Now

That night in Appleton

right now appleton 1

This is a photo from a tremendous set by The Right Now from their show in Appleton, Wisconsin, last month. Somehow, the old country club overlooking the Fox River was still standing after The Right Now scorched it that night.

Here’s how we got started.

The Right Now is a seven-piece pop-soul group out of Chicago. Heavy Soul Brotha Dave tipped me to them way back in 2010. Their first LP, “Carry Me Home,” had just come out.

I first saw The Right Now when they played an outdoor show on a gorgeous summer night in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Although it seems like just yesterday, it was 2012. Their second LP, “Gets Over You” had just come out.

Fast forward to February 2017. The Right Now was just out with their third LP, “Starlight.” I’d not seen them live since that summer night in Wausau five years earlier, but I’d followed their career from a distance via Facebook.

By the time their publicist contacted me, I’d already bought my vinyl copy. Mine was Order No. 6. Sure, I said, I’ll write about it. Then I didn’t. They were getting better and more influential reviews than anything they might have gotten from this lightly traveled corner of the web.

Then, last April, a death in the family. David Grinslade, the partner of lead singer Stefanie Berecz and the father of their two children, died by suicide.

The Right Now, tightly knit after almost 10 years together, halted their Midwest tour in support of “Starlight.” They took some time off.

When The Right Now returned to the summer festival circuit a few weeks later, they had a dual purpose.

One was to promote the new record, of course, one they’d self-funded, self-produced and self-released over two years. (They proudly announced in July that “Starlight” was paid for within five months of its release.)

The other was to say “It’s OK not to be OK,” advocating for suicide prevention via outreach and mental health education in the wake of David’s death. They’re doing so by raising funds for Hope For The Day, a Chicago-based non-profit organization.

Hope For The Day

Fast forward to last month’s show in Appleton. A most remarkable encore unfolded.

“Won’t you join us out in the lobby?” they asked from the stage. “We saw this beautiful grand piano out there.”

Brendan O’Connell, who plays guitar and keyboards, sat down at that grand piano. He started playing softly as a group of perhaps 50 people gathered, standing around the piano in a semicircle.

right now appleton 3

Stefanie stood to his left and started talking about David. When she said he’d died, roughly half the audience reflexively said “Awww” in sympathy. When she said he’d died by suicide, a few startled gasps punctuated a stunned silence.

Then, for the first time, they performed “Who Wrote The Book,” a new song written by Brendan, sung by Stefanie and drawn from the aftermath of David’s death.

“Stef gave me the idea for the title and, obviously, the sentiment of the song. After David died, she posted something on social media about how difficult it was to say goodbye,” Brendan told me.

It was a song so new that as Stefanie sang, she scrolled through the lyrics on a phone she’d set on the piano. Their intimate performance was breathtaking.

When they finished, Stefanie simply said “Thank you,” and the small group of listeners scattered in reverent silence. What a moment.

Now, we go forward. Looks like Appleton has embraced The Right Now, which is wonderful news for a friend of the band who lives a half-hour away.

They’ll return in June and again in August. The latter gig will be at Appleton’s Mile of Music festival. That’s a free four-day festival featuring 200 up-and-coming roots music performers and groups. They’re showcased at 70 venues over a mile-long stretch of downtown Appleton.

See you there.

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Filed under April 2018, Sounds

The Right Now, right here, right on

Last Saturday night, my friend Mike and I plopped ourselves into lawn chairs on the 400 Block, the downtown square in our hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. We cracked open a couple of Point beers and kicked back to listen to some tunes.

We have been friends for 40 years. Back then, we spent a fair amount of time with a radio nearby, either for Brewers baseball or simply for tunes. Not much has changed for either of us.

It was a delightful evening at WhyNotWausau, made even more so by great friends, great weather and a tremendous performance by The Right Now, a Chicago pop-soul-R&B group that’s on its way up.

Ever since my friend Heavy Soul Brutha Dave tipped me to The Right Now two years ago. I’d been hoping for a chance to see what Dave described as their “old-skool Memphis feel” and “neo-soul vibe.” Couldn’t make their Summerfest gigs in Milwaukee. Couldn’t make a couple of Madison club dates.

It was well worth the wait. Nothing written here will adequately convey the energy and the bigger-than-expected sound of The Right Now’s live show, from lead singer Stefanie Berecz to all the gents in the band. I have both of The Right Now’s albums, and it was as if my records exploded.

I can’t embed the video, but here’s a snippet of the blistering “I Can’t Speak For You” from Saturday night’s show via the band’s Facebook page. The sun went down and a dance party broke out. (Please be assured that Mike and I are not among the dancers. As Mike said, we might have brought the show to a dead halt had we gone up there.)

A most pleasant surprise after the show was having guitarist Chris Corsale come up and introduce himself as we waited in line to say hello. That never happens. I’d exchanged notes with the band on Facebook, and Chris recognized me from there. He introduced us to Stefanie, who is as genuinely nice off stage as she is scorching on stage, and to Brendan O’Connell, who plays keyboards and guitar.

Now we just gotta figure out a way to get them to play Green Bay, which does not have a cool venue like the 400 Block or a cool club that would be suitable.

Until then …

“Half As Much,” The Right Now, from “Gets Over You,” 2012. Head over to their website and grab the free download of the song.

Also please enjoy the video for “He Used To Be,” which was a Record Store Day single but is not on the LP.

If you dig this tune, I have an extra copy of the 45. Hit me up with an email if you’d like it. First come, first served.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under July 2012, Sounds