Jeff Beck and Imelda May Band - I figured getting to the 9:30 Club around 7:45 or so would allow me to scout out a location for this sold-out show starting at 8:30. Of course by starting my review with this sentence, I would be proven the fool tonight. The place was pretty well packed and I grabbed a standing spot in the back corner of the balcony. The show then began at 8:15 which was odd as I checked the time right before I left. No matter, as the crowd was there and ready to go. Beck and company came out and lit into some old time rock'n'roll numbers with a rockabilly flavor, due mostly to the stand-up bass playing. It was classic 50s styled music with a guy singing some classic cuts including a number from "a band called the Yardbirds". It was "Train Kept a Rollin" and it was actually a bit more dull than a couple of the songs around it. Frankly, I enjoyed the old rock'n'roll homage done by the Blasters last week to what I was hearing tonight. Thankfully, Jeff Beck did punctuate the songs with some fiery guitar work which was what everyone the crowd pretty much came to see. Emelda May came out for the fifth song and the music shifted into bluesier territory and powerful lounge-jazz. "Cry me a River" was excellent. Jeff Beck went to the microphone, joking about how he could actually talk, and dedicated the evening to the great recently departed Les Paul. I am glad he explained it that way, as this show was following in the rock'n'roll stylings and lounge jazz moves of Les Paul, who played his signature guitars well into his 90s. Imelda May explained that the songs she was singing with full back-up vocals unseen on stage,were recordings she made earlier in the style that Les Paul also used. She assured everyone the lead vocal was live. She was an excellent singer and the songs were fine, yet there was just something overly comfortable about the music. Yes, I had no expectation of seeing Beck rip through Yardbirds material (I have already seen them recently with a 21 year old gunslinger doing his part), nor did I want to see any other specific historical period meticulously discovered, as I don't find any of them important enough. Oddly enough, I did see "(Pat)Travers, Bogert, and Appice" years ago in this very club with a much smaller audience. But Beck is still the consummate pro and can still play well, even if the songs did not always demand it. I think everyone from band to audience may have been better served if this show was at the Birchmere or even DAR Constitution Hall, as a more relaxed seated show for the older crowd would have been better than what I witnessed tonight. I am not sure that would have made me leap for joy at this set, but it probably would have allowed me to find it likable as the simple showcase it was. That is, until I would have considered the ticket price.
Quote of the Night: As I was reading a book and plugged into my IPOD while standing in the corner ten minutes before showtime, a guy stares at me for a bit. I pull down my headphones and he asks...
"You getting in some reading, huh?"
Now I actually enjoy outgoing people coming up and chatting with me, but try to have a better follow-up than this guy, please as I do enjoy talking about music or whatever. You'll see me at many, many shows and if there is enough light, the book will be in hand before the show.