November 6, 2004 |
It was a downright sin that so few people - less than 70 - witnessed the prayerful soul power of Mavis Staples at the TLA. Chilling rains might have kept crowds from Thursday's display of rough, godly R&B and hickory-switch gospel, but Staples didn't care. "If there was only one of you, I'd still sing," said Staples, who is 64. "I didn't come to Philly to frown. We're going to rejoice. " Guided by her deep voice's scuffed lows, tattered holy highs, and sexy, modulated twitches, Staples did more than rejoice.
April 15, 1995 |
Most side projects from artists in huge bands prove to be quickly forgotten affairs, little more than massive doses of ego-stroking that leave the listener wondering why the effort was made in the first place. Similarly, the side project album from Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Slash - Slash's Snakepit's (It's Five O'Clock Somewhere) - was way off-target. But on Wednesday at the TLA, the live side of the band managed to hit its mark. "The Pit," as they refer to themselves, is an all-star aggregation of sorts.
July 31, 1995 |
Watch as Keanu sweats! Thrill as Keanu grins! And grow wildly alarmed as Keanu points! You may imagine those exclamations as advertisements for the next Keanu Reeves film venture. This time though, however, Reeves is not the goofy adventurer, the hulky cop, or the cyber-messenger. This time, Keanu is just the bassist for a still-unsigned band - Dogstar - that sold out the Theater of Living Arts on Saturday night. But as he casually exits his taxi and unloads his own bass upon arriving at the back of the TLA, we see from the almost exclusively female drove of fans who stand frozen in the humidity awaiting their hero that Reeves is not just any old bassist.
October 21, 1991 |
Saturday night's show at the TLA was called "Women's Voices. " It would have been just as accurate to call it "An Evening With a Couple of America's Best Songwriters. " Nanci Griffith, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and Beth Nielsen Chapman re-created the warmth of an old-fashioned song-circle. In round-robin fashion, each took turns in the spotlight. Griffith clearly owned the house. Each of the six songs she performed won rounds of rapturous applause. Inspired by Wim Wenders' film Wings of Desire, "If Wishes Were Changes" was typical of her highly burnished style.
April 9, 1991 |
If Roger McGuinn's sold-out show at the Theater of Living Arts last night was intended to celebrate the recent creative renaissance of a seminal rock artist, it was less than successful. But if it was designed to prove McGuinn's influence on popular music, the show made its point. Though two opening acts - the Wisconsin quartet Another Carnival and the Florida-based quartet The Headlights (which served as McGuinn's backing band) - offered only tepid and tired original songs, they could not disguise their admiration for the Byrds and their effervescent jingle-jangle pop-rock.
December 2, 1996 |
It would be silly to call Mazzy Star boring. Of course they're boring: The exploration of boredom, despair and emotional paralysis is the Los Angeles band's reason for being. Mazzy Star fans know they're in for one after-the-party downer after the next, and they like it that way. Bracing myself, I slurped down a double latte before their show at the TLA on Saturday, but was still stifling yawns by the fifth song. Here's the Mazzy formula: Singer Hope Sandoval stands motionless in the dark, perpetually pouting in her shimmering party dress, a Lolita lost in a post-prom haze.
October 15, 1990 |
From the Hollywood Hills or the cabin of an airplane, Los Angeles at night is beautiful, its lights shimmering as far as the eye can see. But when you get deep into town, L.A. at night is drab, lifeless and, in places, downright ugly. This is the L.A. of films such as Repo Man and Miracle Mile. It is also the L.A. of David Baerwald, who, backed by his six-piece band, sang of his home town Saturday night at the Theater of Living Arts. Baerwald is a gaunt, frail man, and his lean, angular face and physique gives him the look of a hungry coyote.
November 17, 1990 |
It doesn't seem right to call someone as happy as Charles Brown a blues singer. The 68-year-old pianist, whose show at the Theater of Living Arts last night was an impeccably played - somewhat overly showy - affair, is so pleased these days that he can't stop himself from grinning from ear to ear even when singing a line like: "No one cares about me, ain't got a friend" or contemplating jumping off a bridge in song. But then, he's got plenty of reason to be upbeat. Forty-five years after first hitting the R&B charts, his interpretive powers are undimmed.
April 7, 1990 |
The Roches - sisters Maggie, Terre and Suzzy, who played before a sold-out crowd at the Theater of Living Arts last night - have been concocting their eclectic brand of folk music for 15 years now. Relying on acoustic guitars, breathtakingly odd harmonies and unobtrusive synthesizers, the sisters sing songs of romantic struggle that walk a line between poignancy and being too clever for their own good. The Roches have always resisted the temptation to trim their eccentric, poetic lyrics into placard-sized slogans or iron the quirks out of their music.
May 14, 2012 |
In Spiritualized, Jason Pierce uses minimalism for maximum effect. Most of the songs during the band's 130-minute performance Friday night at the Theater of Living Arts built on a one- or two-chord guitar riff, but they became majestic, inspiring monuments. Pierce's roots are in psychedelic rock (going back to the '80s, when he called himself J. Spaceman in the British band Spacemen 3) and in the Velvet Underground (the new Sweet Heart Sweet Light and its lead track, "Hey Jane," jumble the titles of VU's White Light White Heat and "Sweet Jane")