Happy November: You're about to watch rock history be made. Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner's youngest kid, Gus, has a musical act with Steven Spielberg's daughter. "It's like the nepotistic She and Him," writes our tipster. So: how many stars?
Gus and Sasha Spielberg's band performed under the name Sasha Lee Pemperton and the Huskies for "an audience of about 20 or so friends," writes a blogger for The Indy. "I managed to capture a bit of it on iPhone video," he explains. "The quality isn't the best. But don't complain-just enjoy the gritty ambiance." This is all we know; after that, all we've got is game tape.
The first one's a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers," which gets twangy, Gram Parsons-lite tweaks to it. Nothing epic, but the execution, while basic and completely derivative of She & Him-type nonsense, is there. Craftsmanship has been considered. David Fricke would give this two stars. Christgau would piss on it and then smell the wafting fumes and decide the quality of it is worth exactly 2.7 of his strange-ass wingding hieroglyphs. Rob Sheffield would give it 4, because Rob Sheffield's music reviews suck (he should've stuck with writing The Pop Life).
Next: a cover of "Me and Bobby McGee." Gus' attempts at getting quiet-angry with his guitar ends up producing a few sour notes, and Sasha takes a while to warm up. But! Sister Spielberg's got soul; she nails some of the song's more desperate notes, though slight inflections of melodrama kinda sully it at points. That said, girl's got voice! Gus' stoic silence is probably for the better, especially when Sasha brings it home at the end. And she does:
The last video's of their cover of Melanie Safka's "Brand New Key," a pretty interesting choice; even more interesting is that most of Sasha's friends all remember the words when she forgets them! Personally, "Brand New Key" never did much for me, but she closes in on the song's strange charms.
For a bunch of kids sittin' around a party, not bad. Every time people sit around other people in an intimate setting with acoustic guitars, it's spirit-crushingly bad, because you have to pretend to enjoy what's often a sad ploy to impress girls (or, inversely, boys). Also: singalongs are for Raffi, especially bad ones, which most of them are.
But they sounded decent! And picked some pretty great songs. Gus' guitar playing needs work, however. A little confidence (or moonshine) could give his sheepish strumming the appropriate level of edge that it doesn't quite have, here! Nerves, kid: get over 'em. Sasha shows promise, but we'll need better video to rate the charisma factor further. For a voice, though: not bad at all. All context considered:
3.5/5 for Sasha, 2/5 for Gus, 3/5 for the act.