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.)

10 comments:

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:"

http://www.amazon.com/Elvis-at-Sun-Presley/dp/B00025L41W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1270600098&sr=1-1

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.

http://nectarlounge.com/

Happy In Bag said...

Excellent, BD! Please report back after the show.

brucedene said...

Will do!

brucedene said...

As promised:

http://www.brucedene.potlikker.com/blog/blog/vv-brown/

Happy In Bag said...

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