There are times I really wish I lived some place cooler, that is, a place where I can cook outside with the aid of fire (and not sunlight) one day and the next be accosted not with a torrential downpour but a gentle breeze to complement the loveliness that surrounds me. So summer has arrived here in Arizona. The weather signaled this shift when there was one day last week that was in the mid 90s and the following day presented itself in the 105-110 F range.
I celebrated this turnabout in climate by going to see Jamie Lidell in concert. As I made my way to the venue, I wasn't sure how well his songs would translate to the stage since they're a blend of soul and electronic-based music. I worried needlessly: the man (and his backing band) was amazing. Jamie was quite the entertainer, even though at times he expressed amazement at how receptive and responsive the crowd was to him. (James Pants opened with an eclectic set of dance music which covered house, soul, R&B, pop, grunge, and straight rock that drew a tepid response from the mostly seated crowd. I loved it despite only recognizing a quarter of the songs.) I was surprised by the crowd as well, at both the size--this is a college town in the summer--and at their willingness to see a relatively unknown performer, as indicated by the mob at the merch table afterwards. The band also fed on the crowd's energy, first with the mustachioed drummer making his way through the crowd, handing his tambourine to a random person while he danced every which way, and then with the guitarist and wind instrument guy (he played the baritone and alto sax--sometimes simultaneously!--and an oboe with a vocoder attached to the reeds) trading riffs between each other and swaying back and forth as if they were at a high school dance as imagined by Steven Spielberg. I had a lot of fun and was out of breath (a first for me) when the concert finally ended.
Most recently I've been making my way through some wonderful music: a Stax/Volt singles collection (covering 9 years of singles!), the Otis Redding Sings Soul reissue, a Marshall Crenshaw collection (he's someone who deserves more recognition), some Al Green reissues, and Caetano Veloso's A Foreign Sound. Oh, the curse of recorded music...!
Tags: music, life, concerts
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