CASHBOX Los Angeles

CASHBOX April 17, 1976

Dirk Hamilton

Los Angeles — Roxy Theatre: The emergence of the bar band in popular music is an interesting phenomenon, and Ace is a prime example. The band is quite competent musically — the have achieved an interesting blend of American funk and English blues over a period of years.

The show at the Roxy was excellent in all respects but one — Ace lacked any real stage presence or personality. There was no cohesive feeling to the set. One felt, at times, that the band's main interest was to project a background sound.

However, the sound, background or not, was good. All members of the band displayed professional musicianship on their respective instruments. Vocals were clean, if a trifle lackluster, and projected well. The highlight of their set was "How Long"... the gigantic hit single for them. "Rock 'n Roll Runaway" set another spark in the Roxy crowd. The band must learn how to maintain that spark if they are to continue the success they've had with their ABC recordings.

Opening the show for Ace was another ABC act, Dirk Hamilton. Usually new artists making their Los Angeles debut perform six or seven songs from their first LP and that's it. Hamilton, on the other hand, displayed five or six new songs, along with only a handful from his album. And it worked. The tunes were in a mixed bag — folk, jazz and rock — all performed with energy compared to the likes of Van Morrison, Springsteen and Dylan. Dirk Hamilton sang in a voice that was edged with raw beauty. His phrasing was always interesting — he took big vocal chances that often paid off.