Wednesday, March 7, 2012


After months of not going to concerts, last night I went to my first show since the fall, and boy did I pick a good one.  The Robert Johnson tribute concert at the Apollo Theater, celebrating what would have been his 100th birthday. As you can see by the image to the left, it was a pretty great bill, with lots of my favorite acts there.

I already wrote a review, which you can read here: but it was very classic rock-oriented, as I wrote it for that format. But to reiterate, Living Colour killed it. They kind of reminded everyone just how exciting, explosive and vibrant it can be when the blues is brought to life with LOUD electric guitars.  But I have to ask how it is that Corey Glover seems to age in reverse?  His voice is amazing, and he seems to have more control of it now than he did two decades ago. Vernon Reid is just a monster on guitar. Their performance by themselves was great, as were their collaborations with Shemekia Copeland and Sarah Dash.

The Roots were amazing as always: Black Thought wasn't with them. Instead, guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas took the vocals on "Milkcow's Calf Blues."  I love Black Thought, but they could have a parallel career as a rock band if they wanted to. Macy Gray did a great take on "Come On In My Kitchen." Taj Majal and Bettye Lavette were commanding presences every time they hit the stage, and what a treat to get to see both Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) and Allen Toussaint perform.  Most of these artists wouldn't be who you'd expect at a Robert Johnson tribute, but that's what made it cool. It showed that his influence extends far beyond "blues rock" artists.

It was also nice to see some younger artists:  The Dough Rollers are a traditional country blues-ish duo who were amazing, and The Pedrito Martinez Group were pretty exciting also.  I plan on checking them both out. Proof that, as I often say, the blues is alive and well.

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