Evan Ginzburg’s Summer 2012 Mini-Concert Reviews Part 2
VAN HUNT- Thursday July 5 BAM R&B Festival Metrotech Brooklyn
For those who don’t know this brilliant young musician, Van Hunt is in the Prince mode, easily blurring the line between rock and R&B.
In a scaled down setting with just his guitar and a female drummer to back him, the first 15 minutes of the show were obliterated by horrendous sound which was mercifully fixed.
Hunt possesses a beautiful voice and is a truly virtuoso guitarist. His best known song, Dust, resulted in multiple fans in the audience coming up to dance behind him. And at one point the scantily clad drummer leaped into the audience to bang her drumsticks together rhythmically. So even in minimalist mode, there was showmanship to spare.
However, I can’t honestly say that every song fully connected with the crowd, and Hunt ran off the stage at about the 75 minute mark like he had a train to catch. But all in all, it was a unique event and an opportunity to see someone who isn’t seen live quite enough. Check out his CDs to truly appreciate just how good this guy is.
BUDDY GUY/JOHN MAYALL/QUINN SULLIVAN July 11 Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival NYC
Blues in the Big Apple ain’t what it used to be, so when a big name fest hits town, I’m there.
And there isn’t anyone more entertaining than the still great at 75, Buddy Guy.
Prowling the stage tiger-like, Buddy hasn’t lost anything whatsoever. In fact, in certain ways he was “better,” basically doing whatever struck his fancy including going acoustic at one point and jamming with 13 year old wonder-kid Quinn Sullivan.
Speaking of the young prodigy, Sullivan, he did his own set, which from a technical standpoint was superb. However, and it’s a big “however”- his singing Clapton songs of lost love just doesn’t have the pain and gravitas as someone who’s actually lived it. In fact, it came off more as parroting than true blues. But when he stuck to just playing, the kid’s most certainly “got it.”
Opener John Mayall is also extraordinary musically, but mere ordinary vocally. And his creaky pipes did, at times, take away from otherwise great jamming.
All in all, though, this was memorable thanks to the joyful blues ambassador, Mr. Buddy Guy.
GEORGE CLINTON AND PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC July 12 River to River Fest NYC
On that fateful day when I finally leave this planet, I sincerely hope that one of the last things I remember is one of the many, many nights I’ve seen George Clinton.
Now 70 and without the colorful locks, George looked almost conservative by his standards, dapper in a fedora and all white outfit.
The show itself could best be described as an abbreviated (for them anyway at an hour forty five or so) greatest hits gig- with an emphasis on the great.
Simply put, on this memorable night, in front of an estimated 2,500 or so people, this merry and brilliant band of musical madmen, tore through one hit after another, leaving the outdoor audience both happy and spent.
My wife, a classical pianist from Korea, saw him for the first time, probably didn’t understand a word they were saying with her limited English, but loved every second of it.
That’s the power of the funk.
And the great George Clinton.