w/ Garage Boys and Bakers Dozen
Las Vegas House of Blues
Friday 25 August 2017
All photos by Joseph James
All photos by Joseph James
It was my first ever time visiting New York. The sheer scale of the place is nothing like I’ve encountered, being from the tiny nation of New Zealand. On the bus ride in I decided to do an internet search to see if any gigs were on tonight. Surely there has to be something happening in the city that never sleeps?
I began to scroll through the search results, when something caught my eye: a free gig featuring Vernon Reid. Wait… The Vernon Reid? From Living Colour?
I saw Living Colour play in Auckland this year and the talent was unreal. And the very same guitarist was putting on a free show? Count me in!
The show was a free event at the Lincoln Center, one of the last of a series that had occurred over the summer. There were three acts all working together to pay tribute to the late, great, Chuck Berry.
First act – Philadelphia based Low Cut Connie – were fantastic. They excelled due to the energy they put into their performance. I arrived ten minutes late (turns out that the New York subway is far trickier to navigate than the Boston subway that I had ridden yesterday), to see singer standing atop a piano stool theatrically while singing. A few songs in he ventured out into the crowd to sing as he ran up and down the aisles.
Vernon Reid had pieced together a great band to play Chuck Berry covers. The stage was incredibly crowded, with a grand piano, three piece brass section, bass, at least three guitarists, and a revolving roster of singers and extra guitarists all playing their part throughout the night.
Of course, the talent Reid had handpicked for the event were all fantastic. It was clear that they were all having fun onstage, dancing around as the played the hits of such a legendary artist. Living Colour singer Corey Glover even made an appearance, pretending to bicker with Reid between songs to provide funny banter.
The band ended with the obligatory “Johnny B Goode”, before a naughty encore of “Ding A Ling”.
By the time The Jayhawks arrived onstage it was dark, making the stage lights stand out and set the mood. Compared to the first two bands, The Jayhawks were more relaxed, with a sound that reminded me of Calexico.
All words and photos by Joseph James
Last night was wild haze. I went to the show at Valhalla … which was awesome… and I woke up feeling quite lost and unwell in a van in Marton … which was not so awesome. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.
I spent the rest of today hitching and busing back to Wellington. Here are some snaps I took at the gig.
Words and photos by Joseph James
Napier trio Jakob are never anything short of superb, and last night was no exception. I’ve seen them play roughly half a dozen times now, and mostly at this same venue. To be honest, other than the support acts, these shows are rarely any different. But it’s hard to improve a show when it is already so close to perfection.
Guitarist Jeff Boyle hypnotises us as he rocks back and forward, strumming and picking and rolling the volume knob to create swirling waves of sound. The venue vibrates and rib cages rattle as hairy behemoth Maurice Beckett plucks at his bass strings. Drummer Jason Johnston ties in with the throbbing bass lines by smashing tribal rhythms out his kit. He hits with power and control, economic with his movements. Lights bathe the trio in various colours as they cast an enchantment with their musical spells.
Go pros and cameras were on stage filming the entire set, and the merch guy told me that they are expecting new shirt designs in the next few weeks, so I wonder if there will be an exciting announcement to follow?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Jakob are one of the best in the world – essential viewing every single time. I saw them last time they came, co-headlining with Beastwars. I saw them the time before that, touring their new album Sines. I’ve seen them play around half a dozen times now, many times headlining, and other times supporting acts like Tool, Russian Circles and Butterfly Effect. And when the standard of the talent is so high, I don’t see why I would ever stop attending Jakob shows when they come to town.