Jamie Lidell | 05.28.08 | San Francisco

By: Robyn Rubinstein

Jamie Lidell :: 05.28.08 :: Bimbo's 365 Club :: San Francisco, CA

Jamie Lidell
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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[Published on: 6/18/08]

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NTLS Bassist Thu 6/19/2008 12:14AM
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NTLS Bassist

Jamie Lidell knows how to get funky. Too bad he won't be around ATL anytime soon.

KCReb Thu 6/19/2008 09:15AM
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I caught this dude when he opened up for Beck a few years back. At the time it was just him and his iPod, but he still pulled off an entertaining set. Glad to hear he has a tight band backing him these days - I'll have to catch him at ACL.

Jukebox Hero Thu 6/19/2008 10:00AM
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Jukebox Hero

Great review, but I think the author seriously underestimates the value of studio music. While the stage is a place to bring certain energy and emotion that can't be recreated on an album, the studio album is an amazing and valuable art form in and of itself, a far cry from a simple "commercial" for a live show. There are things that can be accomplished and documented in the studio that can never be recreated live. I mean, I'll never see the Beatles, but I'm damn sure they made all those albums. I understand what the author is saying and it's probably most relevant in terms of a business model, but I just wanted to throw my comment in there.

mcarroll Thu 6/19/2008 12:08PM
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I'm with Jack Straw on the whole studio music thing. As far as the Jamie Lidell live show goes, it was easily the most innovative live show I've been to this year and right up at the very top overall, too. I caught him at the Bluebird a couple weeks ago and had a fantastic time. They use a lot of strange instruments and it's like a weird comedy show up there as well as a great band, great voice and interesting electronic looping thrown in the mix. I highly recommend checking it out if he is in your area, it is like nothing you've ever seen before.

meyer311 starstarstarstar Fri 6/20/2008 11:52AM
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I was at the Bluebird show a few weeks back as well and it was an awesome show. There just aren't many artists out today with the charisma that Jamie has. Not to mention that he has an awesome voice that is accented during the show with his dance moves. Best show I've seen since My morning at the Ogden. Go see this guy as fast as possible, or atleat go pick up the album and start your own dance party in the living room.

lovemusicfood starstarstar Wed 6/25/2008 12:09AM
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Saw his recent show in Philly. There were really cool electro funk parts but also really lame pop-soul parts.