Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Gary Jules at the Troubadour

Every time I go to the Troubadour I have so many memories: The KSCA party, Wild Colonial Christmas shows, the crowd going crazy and demanding an encore from Peter Hammill (sorry, I had to do an obscure one). Sunday night it was Gary Jules’ turn to stand on the stage where Elton John’s career took off thirty plus years ago. Gary is at a turning point in his career. He has gone back to being an indie. A year an half ago I caught Gary at the Hotel Café and raved about the new music he was about to record. Well, most of it is gone (for now). So, it’s a whole new batch of songs (although “Witchita” which you can also get on the Hotel Café Live CD survived) but the same beautiful and intelligent style that has made Gary’s music so appealing. His 80 minute set focused heavily on the new material and on first listen sounds as good as anything he has done. He did get in a few oldies including “Barstool” and of course “Mad World”.

Okay, so now for the fun stuff. It seems his slide guitar player (I can never remember his name, but damn he is so good) got a gig with Shakira. Well, the band, Gary specifically, was teasing him throughout the night (maybe it had to also do with the fact that he left his cell phone on and during a slide solo it started to feed back). Right near the end, he said something that could have been in bad taste, but we were in the balcony and not one hundred percent sure what it was that he said. Maria, though was absolutely sure he had knocked a fellow Columbian and she would have none of that. “I want to talk to him” she said. Well, she knows I love to chat with artists after the show so she figured it was her turn and how could I refuse her. I actually got a kick out of it and I know I had a big grin on my face as she told Gary off. Gary, very gracefully explained to her that he was very lucky to have this slide player and that they were just teasing him about playing in the big time; nothing personal about Shakira. Gary then said I’ll have him come down and explain it; which he did. He was also very nice (and again one hell of a slide guitar player; almost worth going to see Shakira for). It was all lots of fun and Maria felt a bit embarrassed but happy that they are all such nice guys and that Shakira’s reputation is still intact.

Brett Dennen opened the show. My God is this kid out of junior high yet? And then he starts to sing. Imagine a mellow Jack Johnson sound but more reggae and the voice of an an an adult. The music was okay, but the voice will stick with you. It was southern and earthy and potent.

Jim Bianco was the second opening act and will be playing piano part time with Gary on his 2 week tour of Europe (he played on several of Gary’s songs during our show). Jim has a sort of jazzy crooner approach to his music. Some of it gets bluesy and sometimes it sounds right out of the 40’s or maybe 50’s (really, I’m not that old). He seemed to lack the energy of Gary or Brett (at least on this night), but he was in good humor, joking about how stupid he was opening with two new songs and then proceeded to play yet another new one.

A very memorable night at the Troub. Now… when are the Wild Colonials coming back?

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