Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

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Trombone Shorty Keeps It Funky at Terminal 5

December 11th, 2014

Trombone Shorty – Terminal 5 – December 10, 2014

Trombone Shorty – Terminal 5 – December 10, 2014
It’s become something of a routine—the weather turns cold, December rolls around and Trombone Shorty returns to New York City to play Terminal 5. The New Orleans native is now so popular here that his shows have become something of a can’t-miss seasonal staple. Despite being extremely funky, Shorty and his excellent band, Orleans Avenue, often oscillate into the territory of jazz and soul during their performances. They aren’t afraid to embrace pop or rock either, and last night’s show featured renditions of Green Day’s “Brain Stew” and even Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin’”—the latter being a cover you can only get away with if you have a crew that has as much fun onstage as this one did.

The focus, of course, is on Shorty himself. He’s been a stellar frontman for a while now, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t gotten better. It was fitting that the band took the stage to James Brown’s “Make it Funky” because Shorty increasingly shows more and more of the Godfather of Soul with each passing show. His stage presence was already great, but it’s becoming the stuff of legend, on a bother-your-friends-who-don’t-like-funk-until-they-see-him kind of level. Orleans Avenue are made up of five seriously impressive musicians, and their skills were often featured throughout the set.

When Shorty wasn’t tirelessly tearing up the stage on trombone or trumpet, he parked right next to whichever bandmate had a solo going. Like Hendrix appeared to be coaxing spirits from a burning guitar, Shorty swayed back and forth and waved his arms next to each musician, like he was trying to help him get every ounce of funk out of his veins. Like the inevitable changing of the seasons, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will be back again before you know it. And that next time he returns, tell everyone you know it’s a can’t-miss show. —Sean O’Kane | @Sokane1

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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A Young Talent on the Rise

January 15th, 2013

Jake Bugg – The Bowery Ballroom – January 14, 2013


With the start of the New Year, I like to scour for new artists and inevitably ask my pals on the other side of the pond for recommendations. And my music-loving Brit threw out Jake Bugg, who she’d recently seen live. She described Bugg as a young chap, at the tender age of 18, who sounds like Bob Dylan. Curiously though, in a recent interview in The Telegraph, he stated, “Bob Dylan’s cool, you know, he’s great, but he’s not a major influence.” Bugg cites Donovan, the Beatles, Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix instead. Needless to say, I was interested.

It was a first for me to see absolutely no merchandise out before heading up the stairs of The Bowery Ballroom to witness the Nottingham wunderkind. Bugg’s self-titled debut album has not yet been released in the United States, but you couldn’t tell from Monday’s sold-out crowd. He descended onto the stage wearing a Fred Perry track jacket zipped up all the way and started with the rollicking “Kentucky,” which had onlookers stomping along from the start. He didn’t say much between songs except to express gratitude and to make brief introductions. Instead, Bugg let his music speak for him. Offering a small description for “Trouble Town” as a song about where he was from, he strummed his acoustic guitar while fans cheered and chanted the song’s title.

Upon its conclusion, a female attendee screamed, “My boyfriend,” which elicited an echo effect amongst female and male fans. After shredding on an electric guitar like his idol Hendrix on “Ballad of Mr. Jones,” Bugg took the stage solo for “Someone Told Me,” the oldie “Country Song” and “Simple as This,” which all brilliantly showcased his reedy voice against delicate guitar plucks. Fans perked up for the clap-happy “Two Fingers,” Johnny Cash–influenced “Taste It” and “Lightning Bolt,” which sounded like a more-rocking Moldy Peaches track. Saving the best for the last, Bugg encored with his first live performance of “Broken” and a cover of Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” But no one left with any blues—only admiration and awe for this young talent only beginning to spark. —Sharlene Chiu

 

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The London Souls Captivate in Their Tour Opener

January 9th, 2013

The London Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – January 8, 2013


The Jimi Hendrix comparisons are inevitable for Tash Neal, the lead guitarist and singer of the London Souls. It’s by far the easiest way to categorize him, not just because he’s a black guitarist who shreds, but because it seems like everything he emits provides more similarities. His band is a trio with a floppy-haired drummer and he’s groomed an epic ’fro—plus he even wears those hipster earmuffs that have become fashionable around Williamsburg, which could easily be mistaken for one of Hendrix’s bandannas. Superficially, Tash is channeling Jimi’s ghost.

But hearing the London Souls last night at The Bowery Ballroom shattered any notion in my mind that the London Souls are a just an updated Jimi Hendrix Experience. Neal’s guitar playing owes more to Duane Allman’s country blues than Hendrix’s psychedelia. He has more discipline than did Hendrix, keeping his solos tight and purely in support of his songs. And his stage persona allows for far more fun than Hendrix’s atomic focus ever did. Maybe this last point is a function of his surviving a near-fatal car accident last year, when his cab was struck by drag racers. “For everyone who’s sent a positive thought my way,” Tash remarked last night, “I just wanna say thanks. I’m still around. It’s fine.”

The London Souls played last night’s show as if it could have been their last. They must have burned through their entire catalog during their two-hour set, including “Steady Are You Ready,” “She’s So Mad” and “Old Country Road,” and the band also busted out AC/DC and David Bowie covers. Neal melted faces throughout, but the high point must have been the extended solo on “Someday,” the reggae-tinged cover that, at its midpoint, takes a turn for the heavy. Neal subdued the toxic amount of distortion from his amp and captivated the crowd as his fingers danced across the fret board. Yes, Tash Neal and the London Souls are still around. It’s quite fine. —Alex Kapelman

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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The Wind and Rain Are No Match for the Soulful Michael Kiwanuka

September 19th, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka – Webster Hall – September 18, 2012


Throwback is the perfect definition for British soul artist Michael Kiwanuka, who has cited influences from Bill Withers to Otis Redding. His delicate guitar strums brightened a rather stormy Tuesday evening and for the Webster Hall crowd that braved the rain and wind, Kiwanuka was in fine form. Stepping onstage, he welcomed the audience with “I’ll Get Along” and followed up with “Tell Me a Tale,” which he described “as a tune you might know.” Taking up his acoustic guitar for the latter, the rhythm section came in with a percussion-heavy interlude. Kiwanuka played largely from his debut album, Home Again, enamoring his fans with “Bones.” The single is a gospel-y, upbeat tune with underhanded morose lyrics—truly a sad-song-makes-me-happy tune.

At the middle of his set, Kiwanuka drew attention to the night’s date, the anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death. As a dedication, he covered “May This Be Love (Waterfall)” with his guitarist in character, donning a feather necklace and fringed guitar strap. Trading in the electric for the acoustic, the singer-songwriter played recent single “I’m Getting Ready” and stripped down the band to just his bassist, Pete Randall, for “Rest,” a country-twinged, heartache-y song showcasing Kiwanuka’s vocals. And although “Home Again” had some ringing feedback, he mollified it with soothing lyrics: “Movin’ on / So I’ll close my eyes / Won’t look behind.”

The end of the evening really brought out Kiwanuka’s gems with a new song, “If You Dare,” reminiscent of the Temptations’ downtempo swagger mixed with the first few chords of Redding’s “Sittin’ On (The Dock of the Bay).” Coincidentally (or not), he continued with a cover of Redding’s “I Don’t Know.” The audience joined in, clapping and singing along, “I just don’t know oh oh.” For the encore, Kiwanuka and Randall concluded the evening with “Lasan,” originally a collaboration with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Kiwanuka hoped it would send the onlookers “softly and soulfully into the night.” It certainly did. —Sharlene Chiu

(Michael Kiwanuka plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday.)