Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Blues at the Crossroads at the Uptown

"Bittersweet!" a woman in the row behind me repeatedly shrieked Saturday at the Uptown Theater.

It wasn't going to happen. The oblivious woman may have paid $55 to hear Big Head Todd and the Monsters play its signature song, but Todd Park Mohr, the leader of the Colorado-based band, made it clear from the outset that the evening would be dedicated to the blues. (Here's my review of 100 Years of Robert Johnson.)

A decidedly mixed bag, the quality of the concert can be reduced to a simple axiom. Less is more. Mohr's solo acoustic work was shockingly good. A critic in Ann Arbor savaged his effort on the previous night, but the bandleader was far more convincing than I'd expected. Lightnin' Malcom's duet segment with James Cotton was the evening's clear highlight. Malcolm offered the same sort of tasteful support for Hubert Sumlin.

Things weren't nearly as nice when all of Mohr's Monsters were on stage. The large ensemble's version of "Come On in My Kitchen," for instance, might easily have been mistaken for "Bittersweet" by that frustrated fan. She was probably also pleased to hear hits by Bryan Adams and Bonnie Raitt played over the PA at intermission. I suspect that she didn't notice the unexplained absence of David "Honeyboy" Edwards, either. I'd really been looking forward to seeing Edwards one last time. For entirely different reasons, she and I both came down with a bad case of the blues on Saturday.

Here's Joel Francis' proper review of the concert.

After I wrote this essay about the significance of Esperanza Spalding in 2009, I've taken to referring to her as "The One." As of today, she unofficially supplants Wynton Marsalis as the face of jazz.

Quit your hating. I loved the Grammy broadcast. My favorite performances, in order: B.o.B, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae; Cee Lo Green; Arcade Fire; Eminem; and Mick Jagger's tribute to Solomon Burke.

Kansas City rapper Dinero Fazil has a nice video for "Mi Vida Escrita En Papeles". (Via Credential Hip Hop.)

Kansas City Click: I suspect Mark Lowrey will play "My Funny Valentine" more than once at Sullivan's on Monday.

Carrie Rodriguez, Erin McKeown and Mary Gauthier team up Tuesday at Knuckleheads.

The Record Bar hosts Sebadoh on Wednesday.

(Original image of Sumlin, Malcom and Mohr by There Stands the Glass.)

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