Last Night: Jamie Lidell, Solid Gold at Troubadour
The Hype: With a voice that appears to have time traveled directly from sixties-era soul, Jamie Lidell continues to amaze listeners with the idea that the voice they're hearing is coming out of a white Brit in his mid-thirties. In support of his upcoming new album, Compass (out May 18th), Lidell brought both a new backing band and music to a sold-out crowd at the Troubadour. Opening the show was the Minneapolis-bred electro-rock trio Solid Gold, whose five-song EP Synchronize was released in March.
The Show: Solid Gold warmed up the crowd with a perfect blend of soft low-key synth and hard guitar handiwork. They might not have that much history behind them just yet (their debut album Bodies of Water was released in 2008) but their dynamic on stage and with the audience emits an aura of well-seasoned professionalism.
With material from both their debut album and their new EP, Solid Gold managed to dig up a bit of eighties nostalgia without it coming across as over the top or ridiculously cheesy. Like so many acts of today, they're not a gimmicky band who rely heavily on the sounds of twenty-five years ago; instead, they're a solid (sorry, but it's true) group of musicians who occasionally dip their toes into the waters of that bygone (thank Christ) era. Although, they do offer a sweet cover of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." (It's on the new EP; check it out here.)
It's was a good preview for their show at the Detroit on Monday, May 3. Show starts at 8 p.m.
Solid Gold set an appropriate pace for the evening, and Jamie Lidell continued that vibe with an all-new backing band. Sporting a pair of gold shoes and a technicolor dreamcoat, Lidell and Co. got things started with the new album's first single, "The Ring."
This dance-induced vibe continued for quite a few songs including the title track "Multiply" and "Little Bit of Feel Good" from Lidell's sophomore release Jim.
Surprisingly, Lidell relied heavily on new music from Compass. To me, this was great news because I have an advance of the disc and am now familiar with the songs; but with the album not coming out for another three weeks I worried about the audience's reaction to a bunch of music they had never heard before. The audience, however, was extremely supportive, screaming just as loudly for a song that was new to their ears as they did for a tune they've heard a hundred times before.
Highlights of the new material included a Sheila E-inspired drum freak out on "I Wanna Be Your Telephone" (that also included Lidell banging on a cowbell that was literally as big as a microwave oven) and "Coma Chameleon" with Jamie himself on guitar.
Mid-set, the backing band left the stage and Lidell broke into the one-man experimentation that he's so well known for. Using nothing more than his mouth, a microphone and a Mac, Lidell built songs up layer by layer. From an improvised, ten-minute version of "A Little Bit More" to a deconstructed, bass-heavy sound experiment on "Come Back Around," Jamie gave fans new takes on classic Lidell tunes.
Last night's performance was the finale of a ten-city tour that more than likely served as a bit of a dry run for both the band and the material, but every aspect of the show felt fine-tuned, as if these guys had been playing these songs for years. I can't wait to see what they sound like when they come back in June after hitting up Europe.
The crowd: A bizarre mix of young, eighties-clad hipsters and middle-aged, leather-coat-wearing cocktail sippers. I was surprised by the diversity of the crowd both in age and cultural makeup. The standout of the night: A couple in their mid-fifties sitting in the first row of the balcony who were freaking out and singing along when Lidell broke into his 2005 title track "Multiply." They clearly didn't give a shit what anyone thought about them, which is funny because all I kept thinking was, "They're awesome."
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