Cathy’s out of the room, so I (Keith) am going to sneak in a couple of concert reviews.
We do not normally review concerts, but we do musicals, so why not?
The first concert we saw this month was Joe Bonamassa, a great guitarist and an, ah, interesting singer. I have all his albums and we had seen videos of recent concerts at Red Rocks and the Greek Theatre, where he had a killer group of musicians with him and the performances were dynamite.
The first concert of his Fall tour was in Kitchener, so we had a great opportunity to go.
What a disappointment! The sound was muddy, ill balanced and relentlessly loud. A waste of money. If you want to see this great lineup of musicians, watch the videos; don’t waste your money on the live shows.
Our second blues concert of the month was the 30th Annual Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall – a much better evening! The featured singers were Sue Foley, Cheryl Lescom Alanna Stuart, Dione Taylor, Irene Torres and Layla Zoe – a mixture of well established performers and some newer names. Of course, in fair measure the real stars were the Women’s Blues Revue Band.
Sue Foley put on a very professional performance as always, great guitar and, although she probably has the technically most limited voice of all the singers that night, she really put the songs across. I don’t know if she is still romantically involved with Peter Karp, if she is I wish them all the best, but I am glad to see her performing without him, it just seems to work better.
Cheryl Lescom has apparently been around the Toronto Blues scene for ever, and really knows how to sell a song. Great voice too; I’ll be looking for her five albums.
Alanna Stuart is a new name to me and is more of a soul performer, but she had perhaps the most interesting performance of the night, particularly her first number. I wonder why she didn’t come out for the the final group number, “With A Little Help From My Friends”?
Dionne Taylor is another long-time performer I hadn’t heard of. She has a powerful voice and great stage presence, so I’ll look out for her recordings too.
Irene Torres is relatively new on the scene, but she has been around with her band, the Sugar Devils, for a few years. We saw her open for kd lang a few years ago – she was good then and has continued to improve. She certainly was able to keep up with the more established singers on the bill. (I think she may have also gone to school with our son, Rob; but that’s really got nothing to do with anything.)
Layla Zoe has a voice that she probably gets tired of being compared to Janis Joplin’s. She is a powerful, emotional performer who seems to have found a home in Europe after not really finding her feet in Toronto or Montreal, after she left BC. I must admit I found her earlier music more to my taste. She’s a bit over the top now. Perhaps too much indulgence in various thing?
Anyway, back to the band. The featured singers were all very entertaining, but really, even if they had not been able to assemble such a strong group, the band would have carried the show – the kind of backup that would make any headliner drool.
I hope we will be able to get to the Revue more regularly now it it has been moved a week earlier, so it doesn’t clash with our long-standing dinner evening.
So, one disappointing show and one very entertaining one. Not bad for the month.