Last time I saw Basia Lyjak perform was back in November 2007 opening for the “Support the Troops” benefit concert. I was immediately impressed by her unique and beautiful voice. Her band was tight and experienced. What impressed me most was her fan appreciation. Even this early in the game, she had a crowd of supporters that the rest of the acts that night wished they had. As soon as she left the stage she came around front and walked through the crowd thanking people, including myself, for being there. It wasn’t a robotic, I gotta do this type act. It was for real. It was an eye contact thing. She said thank you to you, not at you, and she meant it.
I was invited to the show by the Practically Hip tribute band, so it was by fluke that I caught Basia’s show that night. Damn glad I did though cuz this little ball of fire lit that place up good. Not only were the tunes tight and catchy, but I really took notice of her looks, being a photographer first and foremost. The most fitting word I could think of to describe my initial impression of Basia would have to be “potential”. Cuz potential she had in spades.
A lotta girls out there can sing, I mean REALLY sing, but how do they look? A lotta girls look great, I mean really fuckin yummy, but can they sing? A lotta girls out there can sing and look great but they have no style or stage presence. Some girls have all of the above, but can they pen their own lyrics? The only thing I noticed slightly lacking from Basia Lyjak at the time was confidence. Maybe not so much confidence but ego. Her movements seemed a little unsure as if she didn’t seem to know what to do during certain parts of her tunes but I kept in mind that this was real early in her career and she’d surely fix that after jamming a few more shows under her belt.
Sure enough, there was something different about Basia this night. She seemed a little nervous or frazzled even. She looked phenomenal, but underneath it all something wasn’t quite right. She hadn’t noticed me yet so I hung back and watched the scene to see if I could figure out what was up. She kept disappearing to the bathroom and emerging just as agitated, if not more. I thought surely a visit to the bathroom would change her mood but no…
It was getting close to set time and I could see that her guitarist, Ron Bechard, was on the same page as Basia. All agitated and moody. I could see Ron was going through the same withdrawal for lack of a better word and something really had to be done before the night was out or God only knows what kinda shit could happen.
I watched Ron down a couple beers and steamroll through an order of mozza sticks in an attempt to change his disposition but he still wasn’t quite right even after fuelling up. Finally Basia saw me lurking around in the background and came over to say hi. She gave me a hug and thanked me for coming out to see her. Then she came in a little closer and whispered in my ear “got any?”.
I thought she was genuinely happy to see me but it turns out she only needed to feed her fucking addiction. I had nothing to help her out with and I wasn’t going to let this spoil my evening. With 5 minutes left before set time, Basia took off looking for Glenn Nash, her drummer, surely he could take care of the situation and set everyone straight, but where the hell was he? I hadn’t seen him in at least a half hour.
A couple minutes later the band emerged from the back door and took the stage. I could tell nothing had been remedied in that short amount of time but like true professionals, Basia, Ron, Glenn and Dave Carreiro, bassist, surged forward with a riveting set, nailing down their “Writings on the Wall” album as well as the latest single, “Don’t Talk”, which has been nominated for best song at the TIMA awards happening on July 31, 2008. Ending the set serving up total justice to Pat Benatar’s 1978 hit, “Heartbreaker”, the crowd got their dose of straight up rock n roll that, sad to say, wasn’t delivered by the headliner, the “metal queen” herself, Lee Aaron.
It was clear to me that there was a major change in Basia’s confidence level. Her moves were completely fluid and natural this time around. She effortlessly hypnotized the crowd with her moves like a sexy little cobra moving in for the kill. Every second of her time on stage was made use of and not in that choreographed, phoney kinda way. Despite her apparent Jonesing for the baggie earlier on, she truly stepped above that and did not let it mar her set one bit.
After a couple hours of autograph signing and schmoozing, with her fans, Basia signed almost as many CDs as Lee Aaron that night. Still, her craving was heightening and we had to leave. Glenn, who owns and operates his own studio and candy company “Candy Hammer”, rounded us all up and took us to his van. I wasn’t going to go but I had to see how this was going to end up. We all got in and he announced that he would stop at his house to pick up the stuff and calm everyone the fuck down, but upon arrival, Glenn emerged from the house empty handed. Apparently he had a big bag at the studio.
Off we went again… just around the corner from his house, he carefully backed in to the studio’s loading bay. Ron and Basia’s intensity had grown to the point of a palpable thick black cloud hanging over their heads. Emy, Basia’s best friend/assistant tried in vain to console either of them and we all hoped, we were at the end of the journey.. it was late, like 4 am and as we entered the studio I saw Glenn reach into a box and pull out a huge freezer bag full and hand it over to Basia. She quickly unzipped and dug in.. we could all hear her sigh of ecstasy as she scooped a HANDFUL towards her face.. I’d never seen anyone actually dig in grabbing huge hands full of the shit before. She’d finally gotten what she’d been Jonesing for all fuckin night. Then, ever the generous sweetheart, Basia turned and offered us the biggest bag of Mike and Ike’s I’d ever seen.
Check out the Mike’s photos from the show!