A popular act at a popular place

A popular act at a popular place
A popular act at a popular place
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O’Toole’s Restaurant has become a music-friendly destination on the weekends, usually with no cover charge. Five years ago, John O’Toole (son of the restaurant’s founder) bought the flower shop next door and doubled his space. That new space is like a scaled down version of downtown’s Capitol Ale House. He’s quick to point out he didn’t intend for it to become a music venue, but is more than happy the music community has embraced his cozy space.


A full house last Friday night greeted Janet Martin and her band. You can’t really call it the Janet Martin Band anymore because, as she says, the line-up changes from show to show. For this night, she was accompanied by her core group: Mick Muller (bass, vocals) & Kris Krull (drums, vocals). This was only the second time Krull has played in public since a serious fall about a year ago knocked him out of commission. I’m happy to report he’s back as strong as ever. Gary Fralin joined in on accordion to add a bit of Cajun flavor to the mix.


Martin calls her music “genre jumping roots music” and their sets affirmed that. Covers of the Beatles (notably “Dear Prudence” and “Blackbird”), the Stones, Led Zeppelin and Bo Diddley, as well as at least one original number (“Atlanta”) showcased Martin’s guitar and vocal talent, as well as supporting harmony by the band. Martin has a healthy following across the Atlantic and does a couple of European tours every year. RVA is well represented indeed.


If there was any downside to the evening it would be the PA, which tended to muddy the vocals. That’s a common malady for many local bands, because they sound check when the room is empty, only to have the crowd soak up the high end. That’s a true shame when the vocals are good as Martin’s.

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