Hannah Cohen - Sultry lounge vocals are the draw here, although you don't want to overlook the drummer and keyboardist backing up Ms. Cohen. The drummer has a great combination of power and restraint of pace that adds to the drama of the vocal work. The keyboards are lush and assists in the creation of the quiet restrained power of this music. The trio was confident and in full control of this big stage and large crowd. I suppose there is a minimalist post-Radiohead approach here, thoroughly modern yet classic. I quite appreciated and it appeared a lot of the crowd did as well. It was easy to drift away into this musical world and I am doing that a lot of the time these days. So Hannah Cohen and I had a meeting of the minds, as they say in Contract Law.
Paul Weller - I am a bit surprised that it has taken me until 2015 to see Paul Weller (although I saw his former Jam bandmate Bruce Foxton several years back with Stiff Little Fingers). I had all the early Jam albums, but never caught that great band. I stopped paying attention even with Weller's fine solo work after his stint in the Style Council had me listening elsewhere. Tonight he covered a lot of ground from his long career with a leaning toward his recent albums and even a 'B' side of a UK single ('The Old Original'). He was assisted with two drummers which surprised me a bit, although one was standing and adding lighter but distinct percussion moves in addition to the occasional kit drumming. There were keyboards, bass, and another guitarist, yet the most interesting sonic element was that every band member added backing vocals. All of this massive sound came together with surprising clarity while retaining its power. The songs varied nicely with Weller jumping on piano for four songs, two of which had a welcome bouncy style that reminded me more of Squeeze or Ian Dury (my blog cohort Kyle thought it was a bit McCartneyesque which seems even more accurate). From 'White Sky' to 'Whirlpool' this set rocked harder than I expected and the band was fully in the groove thanks to the fine rhythmic foundation here. Kyle tells me he did the Jam classic 'Town Called Malice' which I had to miss as I wanted to catch a few songs from an Australian band at the DC9. But Paul Weller made me happy I chose to come here tonight for almost the full show.
Quote of the Night: Weller, apologizing for several water breaks... "I've got a dry mouth, from jet lag possibly" ...or perhaps it has something to do with 40 years of smoking. No matter, the songs came quickly and really built into a fine set.