by carl wilson

Ow! Good God!

In der Globe today, I've got a brief review of this weekend's James Brown concert in Toronto. The degree and extent of his showmanship (a strange word, but the right one in this case) was almost incalculable. [...]

Most of the best concerts I see are simply the result of a charismatic person or group doing great material inventively, with great energy and commitment. Brown has all of that but adds an element of hucksterism that in lesser hands would be horribly cheesy: He pretends that all the rigorously timed and choreographed action that his posse gets up to on stage is just good fun, playfully conceived before your very eyes. He'll wave over the tenor sax player, push the microphone in front of him and suggest he play a solo, as if the idea had just occurred to him, then close back in on him a little before the end of the solo to make it look as if the player's a little out of control and doesn't want to stop playing. He shouts out song titles to the band as if the set list hadn't been worked out in advance. He'll give a little "you wanna?" shrug to one of the dancers before they go into a step routine together. And so on.

With all that you hear about how strict and regimented a bandleader Brown is, I'd assumed that you'd see that in the band on stage - and at first it seems so, as they come on in military-style marching band outfits. But Brown covers up the precision of it all with this patina of fun and flirtation. It dances on the edge of being very Vegas, but damned if it doesn't work anyway - it has a perfect authenticity about it, and by that I mean that it does its faking extremely sincerely.

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Monday, June 07 at 1:51 PM | Linking Posts

 

COMMENTS

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson