OK, let’s cut right to the chase. If you have the chance to see St. Paul & the Broken Bones, just go. It doesn’t matter if it conflicts with your mom’s third wedding or your favorite sports team is in the play-offs in the home stadium that same night. If you wait ’til after they start showing up on Conan’s show (which is inevitable), then you’ll be paying more money to stand behind a tall person in the back of a way-too-large venue … or worse, it’ll be outside at some festival where the bleed from an adjacent stage will make you crazy. (Are you listening, Jazz Fest?)
Treat yourself and just go see them now.
Fortunately, those of us in New Orleans were treated to a killer show last night at One-Eyed Jacks. It was old school soul from seven young white guys that look like they’re on Summer break from architecture school … or maybe sneaking out on their Mormon mission stint. The reality is that they are based in Birmingham Alabama and are continuing to propagate that state’s great roots music tradition. Check out a clip or two. They don’t need me to sell ’em. They do it really well all by themselves.
There’s a lot that I like about this band. The songs are short – very few solos and no attempt to try to pad them. When they play, the rhythm section faces towards each other – the guitarist and bass player, in particular turned toward each other and the drummer. The show’s important, but being locked in is more important.
There were also several things that surprised me. The tunes are more guitar driven than I expected – themes, intros, transitions, and the like. They also messed with the meter a little, but not in ways that distracted from the song – dropping or adding a half measure in what would nominally be common time. Their horn section also doesn’t contain a woodwind instrument – just trumpet and (bass) trombone. There was no seemingly ubiquitous tenor saxophone.
… also have to do a shout out to One-Eyed Jacks. I love the venue and the price can’t be beat. It’s a converted theater (used to be the Toulouse Street Theatre, original resident venue for “One Mo’ Time”) that still has the sloping floor. There is a small amount of seating but mostly it’s packed in standing. If you get there early, the inside bar has seats that allow you to still view the stage.
Last night’s concert had a $12 cover and included Kristin Diable as an opener. That’s almost as good a bargain as the Alabama Shakes concert they had – $10 cover that included both Hurray For The Riff Raff and another opening band. Ya gotta love a place that brings in excellent roots music on the rise and let’s you keep some money to spend at the bar.
My thanks to Nashville connections for making last night’s concert the experience that it was. My buddy Kurt alerted me to them after they appeared in Nashville. Shannon Williford (of Delicious Blues Stew) was in town and provided some delightful company at the concert. This Americana Music Triangle is a real thing.