By: Robyn Rubinstein
Jamie Lidell :: 05.28.08 :: Bimbo's 365 Club :: San Francisco, CA
The disparity between live shows and recorded studio work is not new news, but the size of the chasm amongst bands I like never ceases to amaze me. This may incur the wrath of the FCC, record companies worldwide and Lars Ulrich, but I think that for the most part, studio albums are most analogous to commercials. They're not something that you should have to buy, but something that should entice you to spend the time, money and effort on the live performance. Studio work should function as the teaser that gives you the unyielding itch for a first person experience with the sound. Listening to Jamie Lidell's latest album, Jim, definitely intrigued me into a ticket purchase, but never could have prepared me for the psychedelic-soul-circus-meets–Ike-and-Tina Turner-Revue vibe that is Jamie Lidell on the stage.
Lidell was first described to me as "James Brown with an MPC." There's a boatload of expectation and high standards in that statement, but it's also a spot on description of his concert performance. He delivers an electric onstage cocktail of Prince, Curtis Mayfield and Jamiroquai, chased with a hefty shot of Daft Punk. His backing band is airtight, highlighted by sax player Andre Vida, who not only rocks baritone and tenor sax simultaneously, but does so in a short, gold lame bathrobe and business socks. I have a wise friend who says that anything that can make San Francisco hipsters dance is the sign of a good show. It is such a rare occurrence, that I have to agree, and there were more undulating hipsters at Bimbo's 365 Club than I've seen in this uber-cool city in some time.
Songs like "Multiply" and "Where D'You Go" are reminiscent of the Stax/Volt vaults, while "When I Come Back Around" and "Little Bit of Feel Good" are electro-funk endeavors. All are modernized with assorted yet precisely placed drum samples, cut-ups of his own voice and serious beat-boxing that coerced the audience into dancing, whether they wanted to or not. There were points when the band seemed on the verge of veering off into more psychedelic realms, and though I think they could have fared well along those lines, the crowd was clearly responding to the soul-drenched party vibe and they sagely gave the audience what they wanted.
Jamie Lidell possesses the kind of creativity and vision that sweeps across all music lovers with something that can appeal to just about everyone. His studio albums are the bait but his live show is the wide net in which one will be happily trapped.
Jamie Lidell tour dates available here, and be sure to check out JamBase's exclusive interview-feature with Lidell here.
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