Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bryan Ferry - Phenomenal Handclap Band -- Strathmore - Oct 3 2011

Phenomenal Handclap Band - It's always a worry that an little known or unknown opening band for a major act at a large venue will get lost in the big space, audience indifference and a crowd making their way to their seats. I worried a little bit for this band at first, but the crowd was more than half in place and was attentive. The two guitars, bass, drums, keys and vocals were able to create enough sound to fill this big concert hall nicely. What was more important was their confidence in the material. They had the musical chops and confidence to deliver a nice 35-minute set. There were three vocalists, although the two female vocalists (one on keyboards) had some great harmonies in the manner of Mellow Candle (although the music was not quite as wild as that). The music was rhythmic, dance-pop, and rocking. Some guy toward the back questioned why Bryan Ferry would have this band, even though the weren't bad and was happy to have his earplugs. You know, it really was not loud at all and I'll go more with the guy further back who heard the most rocking song and yelled "that was great!" for which the band thanked him as sound travels well in this hall.

Bryan Ferry - I was happy to finally see one of the classier and cooler than thou front men of all-time. With Bowie in semi-retirement, it is left to the former (and current) Roxy Music front man to both take us back to the cool glam days, but show us all some cool mature music from then and now. I am a bigger fan of the Roxy Music material, a mild fan of the recent studio album, but mostly unfamilar with what came in between. His set was nicely varied from different parts of his career including a Roxy number off of the first album. I think he only did a couple from the new one which was a bit surprising. He had four back-up singers, rhythm section, a couple guitarists and two on keys--one of which came forward with great sax solos and stole moments of the show (her Louise Brooks hair and black outfit didn't hurt the cause). Ferry was classy and in control all night. His voice is a bit soft, but evocative as ever. Aside from the sax solos, the band only transcended into brilliance a couple times with some sinewy guitar moves and intriguing rhythms. That was the only real let-down and perhaps I am unfairly comparing this to the band that Robert Plant put together (heck, any of his last three for that matter). Still this was a good show (although not terribly long) that the fans were happy with. I am glad to see Bryan Ferry once, but would be cautious if there is a next time. I hope I get the chance to make the choice and am glad to see him still creating music.

Set List? (I tried but failed, but it was very close to something like this--any experts out there can chime in with corrections)...  The Main Thing/I Put a Spell on You/Slave to Love/Just like Tom Thumb's Blues/If there is Something/Make You Feel My Love/Casanova/Alphaville/Reason or Rhyme/Tara or Bittersweet maybe?/Like a Hurricane.  (well, i have the opener and closer and some of the middle correct)

Quote of the Night: From the opener... "This is our smash hit that you may know... or at least your teenager."

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