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St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City/Live at the Varsity (Minneapolis 6/1/14)

June 2, 2014



I am not quite sure how I discovered St. Paul & The Broken Bones, but I think stumbled across the “Call Me” video (see below).  I think it might have been a Saturday morning in bed.  My wife asked me what I was listening too/watching and I told her.  She wondered if they are coming to town.  I Googled and found out they were playing in town within the next couple months.  We just bought tickets out of the blue – that is way more spontaneous than normal.

After buying the tickets I listened to the band several times on Spotify.  I loved this band, but I decided it did not want to spoil my appetite and was going to keep my chastity for the live experience.  So I put it out of my mind with a promise to myself that I would pick up a vinyl LP at the show.

Fast forward to last night – it has been a long time since I have been at a show that has given me sustained goosebumps and completely separated me from my troubles for 90 minutes.    Paul Janeway is an absolute force – a voice that channels Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam Cook and a body that …well doesn’t match.  And the cherry on top is that Jameway has great stage presence – a true entertainer.

His voice on the LP sounds great, but to hear the instrument live is beyond belief.  If he can sustain his soul scream for a couple of years he will be a star.  It has the intensity of a fire hose and the agility of a butterfly.  I am no expert on the neo-soul scene, but this guy has got be the shining star.

The LP is filled with soul classics – but it is not – it is all originals.   You swear you know these songs.  At the Varsity they played the album through with a few covers – and you could barely tell the difference between the originals and covers – it all sounded classic.

The show was 5 star, but the band took it up a notch when Janeway pulled Lizzo on to stage for a soulful game of volleyball via “Change Is Gonna Come.”  They crushed it – but there was more – a Muscle Shoals version of “Hey Jude.”  The sold out crowd at The Varsity was signed, sealed and delivered. This show reminds me why I love music – it was a soul kiss/pure bliss.  Thanks to my lovely wife for suggesting the spontaneous purchase of tickets a couple of months back.

Check out the StarTribune/ review here.

From → Music Reviews

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