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Concert Review: Jamie Lidell at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA

cover_500Jamie Lidell
April 11, 2013
Brighton Music Hall
Allston, MA
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber

Jamie Lidell’s 2013 S/T album Jamie Lidell combines the Motown soul of early albums Jim/Multiply and the technologic fanciness of Compass, though a little dancier than the former and a little less aggressive than the last.  In either case, I was expecting a somewhat more mellowed album would likely mean that his performance may have mellowed over time, too.  Sorely mistaken but solidly thrilled, Lidell prevailed as a true neofunk mogul at Brighton Music Hall, rocking a floor-length raincoat and drenching it from the inside with the hot-blooded steam of vitality.

Hidden behind a spaceship of electro-gadgets, backed by an 80s-style light-show, while his beats were innovative and designed to propel a crowd, even from the front row I wasn’t quite feeling the initial connection to the artist – it felt more like going to see a DJ set than to see someone who’s got pipes like Prince or MJ.  The show didn’t really pick up until a few songs in when Lidell liberated himself from behind the enormous metal lab at center stage, swaggered along the front stage line, and sputtered sweat all over me and my fellow front-row compatriots for the smokey “What Is It This Time?”  To be clear: this is not a complaint.  On the contrary, the audience was never quite so alive as when he was right up on top of us, balancing cool jive with soulful fervor.  By the time he hit the encore he was cutting loose on the floor in our ranks, featuring audience members on verses for “Mutiply,” and engaging the entire audience in call/response for “Big Love.”

One thing about a Jamie Lidell live set is that you’ve got to go in with a jazz ear – it takes a bit of discerning to figure out how what you’re hearing relates back to any album version you’re familiar with.  He likes to improvise, and while some of the newer songs were mostly true to album form, a lot of the older tracks were twisted into mosaics of familiarity.  Makes setlist tracking tough, but it sure lends for a more exciting dance party, anyhow!

(Loose) Setlist:

  1. I’m Selfish
  2. A Little Bit More
  3. You Know My Name
  4. What Is It This Time?
  5. The City
  6. Blaming Something
  7. You Naked
  8. Your Sweet Boom
  9. Music Will Not Last
  10. *Compass segue*
  11. What a Shame
  12. She Needs Me
  13. Don’t You Love Me
  14. When I Come Back Around
  15. Another Day

Encore:

  1. Multiply
  2. Big Love

 

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