Sunday, May 11, 2014

Colin Blunstone - Edward Rogers -- Parilla Center - May 10 2014

Edward Rogers - Although born in Birmingham (England, not Alabama as this witty and heavily accented Mr. Rogers reminds us), Edward Rogers has lived in New York City for a long time now. He handles the vocals and has recruited two excellent guitarists to join him: James Mastro (former Bongo and who I saw with Ian Hunter) and Don Piper (Syd Straw). These two mix electric and acoustic sounds and create a stronger than expected backdrop for Rogers' interesting pop rock songs. The style reminds me of some sort of combination of Billy Bragg, early Elvis Costello, and Wreckless Eric. His breathy voice is quite expressive in a unique way, although results in much of the feeling I get listening to the three artists I referenced. He clearly has interesting musical taste, as his last solo album, "Kaye" was dedicated to the late Kevin Ayers. I was one of about a dozen people of the few hundred that applauded when asked if we new Kevin Ayers. Rogers' music (like Ayers) sounds good enough the first time, but would likely age well with subsequent listening. Between the quality of his music, quality of guitar playing, and engaging personality, his set went over well with this crowd and was a perfect fit with the music of Colin Blunstone.
photo -Rich Bloom

Colin Blunstone - I have seen Colin several times in recent years with the legendary and still brilliant Zombies as they continue to tour through the states as well as Europe. However, this is the first US tour for the solo Colin Blunstone in 41 years! And even as I had some really excellent shows closer to home tonight, I just had to make the trek to Rockville to see this unique version of one of rock's finest vocalists. He was just here with Rod Argent and the Zombies, playing Psychefest in Austin and a few cities in the south. He kept the Zombies guitarist and drummer, and flew in his keyboardist and bass player that he used on his recent solo album to work up a quick tour right after the Zombies' dates concluded. Even with no rehearsal time, the band was slick, professional, and nailed all the songs from the few Zombies numbers, to the Motown covers (that Colin covered before), to the Alan Parsons Project song, and to the many songs from the new album and older albums of Colin Blunstone. Of course, Colin's voice is the star, and of the older veteran singers he is second only to Leslie West in retaining his vigor and tone of his younger voice. And better still, he has a tremendous range as he exhibited with a strong tonal style shift in Duncan Browne's "Wild Places". He is also a gracious and personable presence as he has always been at every show I have seen. He and Rod Argent always have plenty of interesting stories and I heard some new ones tonight including a hilarious take on how he made no money on hit songs, but was paid a fortune to fly over to NYC to record a jingle... "It's the time of the season for Noxema". They played for over 90 minutes and enthralled the crowd every step of the way. Every time I start thinking I am too old to do what I do, I just take in a show like this and see someone who has been singing professionally over 50 years put that thought to shame. Colin and Rod should be back in the area with the Zombies later this year, and I will almost certainly be there.

Quote of the Night: There were many good long stories, but I'll just list this bit from Edward Rogers introducing a song about Kevin Ayers after a particularly gloomy cut... "I really want you to know I'm a fun guy, not always so down in my songs. Really! So this next song is about someone who died."


brambleman said...

Thank you for "using" my Colin Blunstone photo from 41 Bridge St. Ct. 5/9/14. The credit should read Photo of Colin Blunstone courtesy of Rich Bloom (The Bramblemen). You're welcome.

David Hintz said...

Corrected. Sorry, I pull from FB which usually contain promo photos designed for sharing, although Colin's FB site is a personal one.

Anonymous said...

Great, great show. Colin Blunstone is a musical treasure.
Thanks for the review.
Brambleman: calm down.

David Hintz said...

Treasure is right. Although I don't care about the Hall of Fame much, as a friend of mine once said while looking at the dozens of nominees, 'you mean the Zombies aren't already in?'