Be nice to the keyboard player

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Simplicity came through town in September, and I wrote about the band then. Of course, many bands have passed under the bridge since, and I had forgotten.

I plugged in their CD, "Life after Life" and started taking notes. Without realizing it, I found myself drawn to the same thing in their music -- the sound of their keyboard player.

Francis Jaramillo is a classically trained pianist who came to rock 'n' roll only after he joined Simplicity five years ago.

The learning curve was steep, but he already knew how to handle the music harmonically.

"(Jaramillo) is the X factor in this band," guitarist Brian Sheehan said. "When he's right on, we're right on. When he's not feeling it so much, we have a harder time."

Lesson to the audience: Be nice to the keyboard player if you want this to be a good show.

"He can take things that are ordinary and make them extraordinary," Sheehan said. "Of course, he has no concept of himself that way."

Simplicity hails from Detroit, where its home stage is at the Tap Room. The band members pride themselves on their songwriting.

Although their sound is 100 percent, plugged-in electric, they have a sweet-voiced style that would and has translated acoustically.

They played here half a year ago, but Sheehan promised a set list full of new songs and obscure covers by the likes of Beck and Ween.

"We write a lot," he said.

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