Thursday, August 16, 2012

Evan Ginzburg's Summer Concert Mini-Reviews Part 3

Evan Ginzburg’s Summer 2012 Mini Concert Reviews Vol. 3

The Orchestro Poly-Rhythmo
July 19 BAM Metro Tech R&B Fest

Flawlessly mixing Afrobeat, vodoun music and James Brown inspired licks, this band from Benin made a joyful noise and was a pleasure to watch and groove to.

Nile Rodgers and Chic
July 25 Lincoln Center Out of Doors Fest

Although Nile Rodgers is renowned as a producer of mega-hits for mega stars such as David Bowie (Lets’ Dance), Madonna (Like a Virgin), Diana Ross (I’m Coming Out) and countless others, the band Chic itself has unfairly gotten that disco stigma and even been dismissed by some.
In fact, they are a magnificent live R&B band straight down to the funky horn section.
Looking stylish and sounding tight as can be, classics like Good Times, Le Freak, Dance, Dance, Dance, I Want Your Love and My Forbidden Lover sound as fresh today as when they came out over thirty years ago.
Poignantly, Rodgers noted that he is battling cancer and spoke of regrets of partying too hard. He was nonetheless in great form with his signature guitar licks that have influenced generations.
I never tire of seeing this tremendous band live and tonight was no exception. Just a great, great evening.
DJ KS*360 warmed up the crowd with infectious dance classics that didn’t much need to be tampered with. If you’re playing James Brown from the 60’s, no need to mess with perfection, Mr. DJ.

Blitz The Ambassador
Aug. 2 BAM Metro Tech R&B Fest

THIS is what a rap show should be.
Backed by a blazing seven piece live band, with a sizzling, choreographed stage show, the Ghana born rapper gave his tightest of tight band plenty of space between his own socially relevant yet fun raps.
Compared to most guys rapping to tracks (as great as that can be in the proper hands), Blitz and crew were on a whole different level.
Just a pleasure to watch, I’d pay good money to see this guy again, and that says something from jaded, old school moi.
Search out and support his music, folks. You certainly won’t regret it.

5th Annual Gospel Explosion 2012- Hezekiah Walker and Friends
August 5 SummerStage Central Park

Being the only Jew in America at a gospel concert today (or one of the rare few), I must say that I LOVE HEZEKIAH WALKER.
Whether you “believe” or don’t in the words he’s saying, this is gorgeous, rich music that warms the heart. And soul if you will.
When absolute strangers walk up to you, kiss you on the cheek and hug you, saying “God bless you,” you can only walk out feeling moved and enriched.
Vashawn Mitchell and other top gospel stars warmed up the crowd before Brooklyn’s own Walker tore the house down.
A beautiful show and beautiful vibe. Just great.

!!! and Lenny Williams
Aug. 9 Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival NYC

As former lead singer of Tower of Power and a hit maker on his own, Lenny Williams has been out there for forty plus years making great music.
Tonight was no exception.
The crowd pleasing Williams did many of hits from “Cause I Love You” to TOP’s “What Is Hip?” in a powerful one hour set that garnered a standing ovation. Williams, like so many old school R&B giants knows how to get the crowd in the palm of his hand and did just that through charm, talent and old-fashioned sweat.
As was !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk), a dance-punk band that featured elements of The Talking Heads, The Clash, The Stones and Chic.
Interesting combination.
Rocking hard, yet soulful, their lead singer had Jagger like mannerisms and was a crowd-pleaser for sure.
As I had come to see Williams and had no idea who they were, !!! turned out to be a great surprise, particularly when they brought Williams out to do a show stopping number.
This show from start to finish was a huge winner for sure.

29th Annual Roots of American Music Festival
Aug. 11 Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival NYC

The Triple Goddess Twilight Revue, celebrating the music of Laura Nyro was a pleasure to witness, as the late, great Nyro is a beloved figure in NYC. This was most certainly proven by the name talent who came out for her this evening.
Showstoppers included Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of LaBelle doing multiple numbers, the still great Melba Moore, one of my favorites in Felix Cavalier, Melissa Manchester, and a cavalcade of others. Although the set started off slowly, it built to a climax and proved to be memorable.
This was followed by the Soulful Songwriters Circle featuring Dan Penn (Do Right Woman), Teenie Hodges of Hi Records Fame and Stax Records’ own William Bell. Why this needed a host/interviewer in Nelson George was beyond me, as songwriters of this stature could have easily made this work rather than bogging it down with chit chat. Simply put, classic music of this stature stands on its own and tells its own stories. Nonetheless there were some great, great moments, particularly hearing THOSE classic Hodges’ guitar chords on Love and Happiness which sent chills down my spine.
The show ended with Otis Clay, who is one of the remaining R&B greats still out there on the road. I’ve seen Clay many times and have never, ever been disappointed and tonight he was in top form, particularly when he called out William Bell and Teenie Hodges for a show-stopping finale of Love and Happiness. During this epic number they threw in some Soul Man and other classics to sweeten the pot.
And bravo to Lincoln Center for putting on an extravaganza like this absolutely free and outdoors on a beautiful, memorable night.

--Evan Ginzburg is Associate Producer of The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke
Producer of the new film Theresa Sareo Alive Again
Producer/Director of the upcoming film The Stage is an Altar
Host of Legends Radio
Booker at Gizzi’s in NYC
He is Publicist for Wrestling Reunion and various other events

No comments:

Post a Comment