Friday, March 25, 2011

Concert Review. Amos Lee in Minneapolis

Sure, I know... what makes him think he can do concert reviews? You're right... but what makes Bartly Kives qualified to report on City Hall?
'Nuff said.
The show took place in the State Theater, a beautiful venue that seats about 2200 people, which had been sold out for months. Opening act was the Secret Sisters (never heard of them before) who were very good... tight vocals, (shared a guitar. C'mon girls... get 2 guitars already), although they were a little too "hillbilly" for me. Alabama girls, they covered some tunes by the Everly Brothers, Chet Atkins, and a couple of original tunes. Clearly the girls were raised in a southern gospel home... their closing number, In the Sweet By and By, literally made me tear up. It was a beautiful rendition, a testament to how well the voices of siblings compliment one another.
If I had a tip for the girls, it would be to have more fun performing. They're quite new to crowds that big, so perhaps in time that will happen, but you could clearly tell which numbers they were having fun with, and really enjoyed performing, and those they were... performing. My hope is that they'll diversify a bit, and loose a bit of the "twang". I think I'd really enjoy their flawless harmonies and clear, powerful voices performing songs I could appreciate more.
Amos came onto the stage... and I was surprised. I always thought he was black... oops... "a person of color". His album covers could make you assume that, and his vocals would just drive that nail home. Not that it makes any difference, he's as white as I am. Amos played through his set, but bantered with the crowd, talked about his plane getting cancelled, having had strep throat and a fever the night before, and how great it was to play a packed house. He was very good, treating the crowd to many songs off his first three albums, and mixing in a number of tunes from his newest release.
Amos has a unique sound. The US Border Guard asked, "What kind of music is it?", and we struggled to put it into a niche. How about what it's not? It's not folk, pop, soul, rock, gospel, country... yet it's all of those things. Each song pulls from various influences and the set list moved from a song that could have easily had a choir of robe clad gospel singers clapping in time doing the back up singing to something you'd almost want to include a Spanish guitar to because the Latin feel is clearly there... Mr. Lee is very diversified, and adept at manipulating the various forms into his own, unique stylings.
The capacity crowd was polite, with numerous "We love you Amos"'s yelled out, (which received a "Thank you"), and song requests, (which received, "I'm going to play that song the NEXT time I perform in Minneapolis"). The encore consisted of a couple of songs, ending with "The Arms of a Woman" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th4SwSpaRWU
Considering the fact that Amos was sick, had to tune his guitars lower to be able to perform, was clearly sweating up a storm, still suffering from a fever, he entertained the crowed with his wonderful music, haunting voice, and warm personality.

Tomorrow... restaurant reviews

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