Parlor Social brings Harlem Renaissance to Napa

No couple is perfect. That’s a given. But not every couple has to work within a breath of each other in front of people.

When you’re the performing husband and wife team of pianist Ric’key Pageot and Dessy Di Lauro, you make it work. And with Parlor Social, so far, so good, as the Montreal exports excel creating a hip-hop/ragtime sound that secured their place in the “Hot 100 Unsigned Live Artists and Bands in the USA” 

“There’s been bickering, but we’ve not had a bad fight before gigs,” Di Lauro said. “It goes away once we’re on stage. We are so strong-minded. Ric’key and I both have similar thought process.”

“We always catch ourselves when we’re not on the same page,” Ric’key said. “We have a common goal. Anybody passionate about reaching a goal, it’s always a group thing and there’s always disagreements.”

This finger-snapping, dance-launching music comes to the Blue Note in Napa on Wednesday next week, the duo’s only Northern California appearance.

A relaxing night for the patrons, sure, but there’s always the pressure to do well, said Pageot, who earned his stripes working four Madonna tours.

“Sometimes you come up with a great decision, sometimes you don’t,” he said. “There is a lot of responsibility being an artist. We do our own marketing, our own management, our own artistic direction, our own musical director, our own publicist and social media manager. That’s a lot.”

Relocating from Canada to Los Angeles was an adjustment, Pageot said.

“In Montreal, all the cultures are integrated. The adjustment with L.A. and any major city in America is that it’s a little bit more segregated,” Pageot said. “It was a culture shock for me.”

Also, “in Montreal, everybody knows each other,” Di Lauro said. “Coming to Los Angeles, it’s a little cliquey. And we don’t really fit in musically. We’ve paved our own way on our own time. We’re at a good place. It has taken longer but people are finally embracing what we do.”

The problem, said Pageot, “is that some people see our music as novelty and it’s not novelty music. It’s based out of a period of time that may be unfamiliar.”

Parlor Social’s sound is described as “if Cab Calloway, Outkast, and Lauryn Hill would have a love-child.”

“It really is an influence of the old meets the new,” added Di Lauro, with her and Pageot on a conference call Tuesday from L.A.

Di Lauro said she knows by the third song if the night’s going to be a blast. Pageot said after a couple of songs he gets a clue on the energy, though it can be misleading.

“I’ll remind myself that they’re enjoying it and have their own way of being attentive,” he said.

“I make a point to really try to connect with the audience,” Di Lauro said.

It’s interesting “in this time period of our journey that our music hasn’t reached the masses yet,” Pageot said. “So we perform in front of a crowd that’s never heard us and we see their reaction. That’s the most amazing part. They’re taking a chance. Seeing them enthralled and getting them engaged and by the end of the set, they’re singing with you. I love that.”

Though Parlor Social once relied more on “extras” like a rapper or a few dancers, the show’s weight falls more on Di Lauro and Pageot.

“We’re taking advantage of our own chemistry as a couple,” Pageot said. “We’re talented enough that we can carry the show ourselves.”

“When we got here to L.A., I thought you had to do it a certain way to get your brand out there,” Di Lauro said. “The more elements you have, the more stuff you having on on stage, maybe that’ll draw people. Now, we’re just stripping it down to the music. It’s all about the music.”

The couple, to be sure, admire each other’s abilities.

“He’s a perfectionist with an attention to detail that’s ridiculous,” Di Lauro said. “I wish I had more of that. We balance ourselves in a way that is good, really good.”

“She’s willing to go anywhere the melody takes her,” Pageot said. “All I have to do is support that harmonically. That’s the fun working with Dessy.”

When it comes to performing, there’s nothing like when everything’s hitting on all cylinders, the two agreed.

“It’s amazing. There’s no greater feeling,” Di Lauro said. “Everywhere I go, the band’s go. It’s magical. We’ve had quite a few of those moments. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens a lot. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Parlor Social performs Wednesday,7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Blue Note, 1030 Main St., Napa, $10-$25. For more, visit bluenotenapa.com.

Rick Pageot

CrazyglueMusic, Burbank, CA