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.)