Monday, August 28, 2017

St Paul and the Broken Bones with Trombone Shorty at the Chelsea at the Cosmo, Saturday August 26, 2017

This was an event that my lovely wife, Melanie, discovered as I had not heard of either artist before. But, seeing as we have been enjoying a number of the new bands doing classic soul music, we decided to check this out. The Chelsea is a medium sized hall in the Cosmopolitan Casino on the Strip that has good sound, good sight lines and, for this show, the floor was general admission, so you could watch from anywhere that you could find a place to stand. The show was reasonably full, but not packed, so it was pretty comfortable overall.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones is, as I said, a modern soul outfit led by an unlikely lead singer, Paul Janeway, a pudgy, fairly dorky, Drew Carey look-alike who has an incredible voice with an amazing range and power. The band consists of guitar, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, trombone and a fantastic Hammond organ player. The songs have a big Al Green/Oris Redding influence, with bits of funk and rock thrown in, as well. Paul is a bit of a goof (he crawled under the drum riser for no apparent reason at one point and threw off his shoes at another), but when he has a chance to show off his pipes, he doesn't fail to astonish the crowd! The tempos varied from ballads to stompin' soul groovers to funky bits (they have a song called "I've Been Workin'" that sounds quite like the Van Morrison number of the same name, although I believe it's more than a variation of that). The horns were terrific, giving the proper Stax-like sound and with special treats like a guitar/trombone trade-off and a trombone/baritone sax dual. It was somewhat slicker than I normally prefer, but truly solid, fun and entertaining. Definitely a soul-licious band to see!

Trombone Shorty headlined and took an extraordinarily long time to come on (although that was probably the club wanted the sets to start at a certain time), and when he did, the bass was about 1000 times louder than it should be and combined with two drummers' bass drums being just as loud, the overall sound was fairly torturous. With 2 guitars, 2 drummers, bass, congas player and 2 other horn players besides Shorty (all wireless), they main quite a commotion with their mix of hip-hop and rock. It really wasn't our cup of tea, though, and with the bass volume reverberating in our chests, we took our leave. St. Paul was certainly worth the price of the tickets, though!

I dug the Chelsea overall as a venue (drink prices are normal Strip-expensive, though) and am looking forward to seeing Bob Dylan there in a month or two.

(Sorry for the crappy pictures - just had my phone as I wasn't sure about their camera policy.)