Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Review: V.V. Brown at the Record Bar

What is it about today's female British retro-soul singers? It makes no sense that so many young women from Britain interpret American music so compellingly.

I was reminded of this oddity as V.V. Brown thrilled me Easter evening at the Record Bar.

Brown is a star. I expect that she'll be more popular than both Duffy and Estelle by July. Brown can't sing as well as Adele or Joss Stone but she shares a sharp street sensibility with The Pipettes and Amy Winehouse.

The first sign that Brown was something special came when the doorman informed me that she was carrying a three-piece band. Sure, they employed some backing tracks, but the show was at least 75% live. They performed credible versions of rockabilly, Afro-Beat, Bow Wow Wow/Adam Ant-esque faux funk, new jack swing, old-school soul and one massive pop hit. And I was very pleased that she didn't let the the audience size (about 65 people were in the room) impact her theatrical effort. But it was when she covered Drake's "Best I Ever Had" that I fell in love. I truly detest the song, but Brown transformed it into a personal anthem. She just may be, as the deplorable Drake puts it, "the best."

Opening act Thee Water Moccasins evoke moody "new wave" acts like Bauhaus, Echo & the Bunnymen and Wire. I'll confess to having been more than a little distracted as they played. The band was accompanied by two athletic dancers who expertly contorted themselves in sheets hung from the ceiling.

I wish something would have diverted my attention from the headlining set by Little Dragon. (Photo below.) The Swedish collective's recordings, reminiscent of the Cardigans, show that they're a wonderful pop band in the studio. As a live act, however, they're totally whack.

A professional photographer managed to capture some of Brown's charm on behalf of the Pitch.

I reviewed Raul Malo's concert at Knuckleheads on Friday and critiqued Junior Mance's appearance Saturday at the Blue Room.

Jazz pianist John Bunch died March 30.

Sacrilege! Elvis Presley's Sun Sessions is out of print.

Kansas City Click: Greg Ginn plays punk-jazz Tuesday at the Record Bar.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)


Harper said...

Thanks for reminding me about the Ginn appearance. I'm not going, mind you, but I'll help spread the word. I heard, however, that he doesn't really appreciate people making Black Flag associations.

So wish I had been @ VV. Thanks for the review.

Man, I'm missing everything!

But that's you're for, right?

Rhonda said...

Harper, VV was amazing. Nothing like rubbing it in, eh :)

Thanks for the review Bill and nice to see you at the show. Did you pick up a cd? I'm finding it a bit overproduced compared to the live show. I suppose that is how all the big label stuff goes. Sometimes they need to realize, less is more. I remember picking up Robbie Fulks first album on a major label in Lawrence and selling it back as soon as I hit Manhattan. It was horrible compared to everything I heard before on Bloodshot Records.

The athletic ladies are part of the Voler Aerial group I do believe. http://thievesofflight.com/

bigsteveno said...

I think the deal is that the album called "The Sun Sessions" has been replaced by the equivalent "Elvis at Sun:"


Happy In Bag said...

I'm pleased to provide you with vicarious thrills, Harper.

I didn't buy one, Rhonda. I really wanted my picture taken with V.V., but she disappeared. Now I know she had stepped out with the camera guy. And as a huge Beyonce fan, I'm not opposed slick production.

Thanks for the link! Now I know that it's Ms. Cherveny that had me hypnotized.

Happy In Bag said...

I'm grateful for your clarification, BigSteveNO. I still insist that it's disgraceful. Poor Elvis.

brucedene said...

Thanks a ton for this review, Bill. Now I know where I'll be come Friday.


Happy In Bag said...

Excellent, BD! Please report back after the show.

brucedene said...

Will do!

brucedene said...

As promised:


Happy In Bag said...

I'm relieved that you had a good time, BD. Thanks.