Monday, February 16, 2015

Concert Review: Guy, K-Ci & JoJo, El DeBarge and Doug E. Fresh at Municipal Auditorium


While I’ve been to worse concerts, the disparity between the high quality of artists’ recorded output and embarrassingly inept performances has rarely been greater than it was at Municipal Auditorium last Friday.

Even after Bobby Brown canceled due to a well-reported family tragedy, I wasn’t about to miss a show that included appearances by grown-and-sexy hit-makers Guy, K-Ci & JoJo, El DeBarge and Doug E. Fresh.

Fresh's opening set with the Get Fresh Crew was the highlight of the evening.  While billing himself as “the world’s greatest entertainer” is a laughable conceit, “the original human beatbox”’s old-school presentation was a lot of fun.

El DeBarge is one of the most under-appreciated artists in popular music.  His career may have been derailed by personal problems, but every time I see him perform I feel as if I’m witnessing a man with talent commensurate to that of Michael Jackson.

K-Ci & JoJo was a mess.  Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey dominated the proceedings like a deranged preacher of a sinister church.  His voice remains powerful, but the presentation was downright creepy.  Even renditions of the wonderful songs from the Jodeci catalog were off-putting.  How did the guys behind great hits like ”Wanna Do You Right” go so wrong?

Guy's headlining performance was so incompetent that members of the audience of about 2,500 were booing even before the duo hit the stage. 

The pioneers of New Jack Swing repeatedly missed their introductory cues.  When Guy finally arrived it was immediately apparent that Teddy Riley- the group’s primary creative force- was absent.  Not only were a third of the harmonies missing, the backing tracks were also muddled.  (DeBarge’s keyboard and the Get Fresh Crew’s turntables were the only instruments performed on Saturday).  Adding insult to injury, Aaron Hall kept mistakenly insisting that he was in Kansas.

People walked out in droves.  I captured the embedded image the moment the lights went up at the show’s conclusion to document the fiasco.


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I reviewed Todd Snider’s appearance at Knuckleheads on Saturday.

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Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls is the leading candidate for my favorite album of 2015.  I hail the recording at Plastic Sax.

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My Local Listen feature on the Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band aired on KCUR last Friday.

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Kansas City organist John Obetz has died.

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Jazz drummer Richie Pratt​ has died.

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I've been woefully negligent in addressing the recent passing of Don Covay.  A trip to my basement  The Museum of Dead People reminded me of his enormous significance.  An out-of-print 1994 compilation ($170 at Amazon and worth every penny) opens with ”Bip Bop Bip”.  The unhinged 1957 raver recorded with the Upsetters is everything that’s been missing in musical diet of late.  Covay went on to write or co-write hits including “Pony Time,” “See Saw” and “Mercy Mercy.”  In his liner notes, Billy Vera suggests that Mick Jagger based his singing on Covay’s style.  I think he’s right.  The excellent 1973 hit ”I Was Checkin’ Out While She Was Checkin’ In” demonstrates that Covay kept up with the times through the early 1970s.

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Steve Strange has died.

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Danny McCullough of the Animals has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear performed on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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Admirers of the blues mural at BB’s Lawnside BBQ will be interested in a reception with the artist on Sunday, February 22.

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Monta At Odds created a video for “Android Dreams.”

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Gary Shindler reviewed a concert that featured Vinnie Appice, Kofi Baker, Ripper Owens and Uli Jon Roth.

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After spotting Africa Express Presents’ In C Mali on Big Steve’s playlist, I cued up the project on a lark.  I had it pegged as an amusing novelty.  I was hooked after five minutes.  At the 20-minute mark I was on cloud nine.  I had an out-of-body experience around the 30-minute juncture.

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Insane Clown Posse knows what’s up.  (Not kidding.)

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The Rez Abbasi Quartet plays acoustic versions of jazz fusion classics on Intents and Purposes.  I’m all about it.  RIYL: John McLaughlin, remixed nostalgia, Chick Corea.

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Eddie Henderson’s Collective Portrait is lovely.  RIYL: Gary Bartz, Sextant, George Cables.

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The Paradox of Independence, a new live album by Tisziji Muñoz and Marilyn Crispell, is RIYL: James “Blood” Ulmer, skronk, Arto Lindsay.

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The Cursive-like rocker “The Ideal Husband” aside, I don’t have much use for Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear.  Even so, I’m glad so many people like it.  The value of my dusty crate of overwrought 1970s folk albums just went up.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

3 comments:

Gary said...

Thank you for posting my review. I'm honored to be more than a commenter on your blog.

lisa bradford said...

I was going to attend this show but couldn't. after reading this dismal review it seems that I didn't miss much.

Happy In Bag said...

Great songs and whack performances, Lisa.

Nice review, Gary.