Friday, October 20, 2017

A Besieged Rhythm Nation


Curious pacing and lousy sound didn’t prevent me from thoroughly enjoying Janet Jackson’s appearance at the Sprint Center on Thursday.  Frontloaded with most of her biggest hits, the concert often resembled a low-budget 1980s music video.

I was unable to ascertain if Jackson’s singing was canned, partly because most of the rhapsodic women who surrounded me in the cheap seats were superior vocalists.  And that was the point of the concert- the real action took place in the stands, where thousands of my valiantly optimistic comrades continued to embrace the tragically neglected message of Jackson’s 1989 hit:

With music by our side to break the color lines
Let's work together to improve our way of life
Join voices in protest to social injustice...
We are a part of the rhythm nation.

It may not have been the show I wanted, but it was the show I needed.  Here’s Tim Finn’s review.


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I reviewed Queens of the Stone Age’s concert at Crossroads KC for The Kansas City Star.

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My review of Hudson’s concert at Yardley Hall is at Plastic Sax.

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I named Roman Numerals KCUR’s Band of the Week.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Sign of the times: I listened to Memento Mori, the impressive new album by the Kansas City rapper Aaron Alexander, before I auditioned the Tech N9ne album that was also released last week.  RIYL: J. Cole, potential, Schoolboy Q.  Here’s ”Faces”.

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I’m not credited on the compelling piece, but my enthusiastic tip resulted in KCUR’s Story of the Song segment about Isaac Cates and Ordained’s rendition of “Hold On (Just a Little While Longer).”

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I hear St. Vincent’s Masseduction as an Adrian Belew-era King Crimson album.  Here’s ”Los Ageless”.

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If Raymond Scott, Fats Waller and Frank Zappa collaborated on a Brazilian jazz album in a celestial afterlife, their collusion might sound something like Hermeto Pascoal’s kooky No Mudo dos Sons.

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Miley Cyrus has a magnificent voice and a free spirit.  I won’t be surprised if her name eventually appears on one of my year-end album lists.  Moments of Younger Now floor me, but most of the good ideas aren’t fully realized.  RIYL: K.D. Lang, nice tries, Chris Isaak.  ”Week Without You” is the album’s best song.

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Led Zeppelin’s legacy is enhanced by the high quality of each new solo endeavor by Robert Plant.  Carry Fire is RIYL John Renbourn, aging gracefully, Fairport Convention.  Here’s “The May Queen”.

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Marquise Knox’s live Black and Blue is a fine modern blues album.

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King Krule prattles like a dazed combination of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Allen Ginsberg and John Cooper Clarke on The Ooz.  (That’s a compliment.)  RIYL: sizzurp, DJ Screw, quaaludes.  ”Half Man Half Shark” may be the album’s least interesting song.

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Oh snap!  Every line of Alan Jackson’s new single ”The Older I Get” rings devastatingly true.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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