Thursday, April 13, 2006

Jamie Lidell – Live in Los Angeles 4/11/06 – Troubadour

Remember those guys who played all the instruments at once? They had the symbols tied to their legs and an accordion, harmonica and who knows what else attached to their body? You could look at them and admire that they weren’t just making a racket, but at the same time they weren’t all together that cool?

Well Jamie Lidell is the 2006 version of that guy, and he is decidedly cool.

I had been told by quite a few people that his live show was something to behold, but I’ve fallen for that line to many times not to be jaded. There is nothing worse than taking time to go to a show that is supposed to blow your mind and walk out yawning. But friends if you get a chance to check out Lidell’s Electrosonic soul revue don’t pass it up. If you go and don’t like it I will fly to your city and give you a consolatory hug. That’s the TQT guarantee.

Opening act Jimmy Edgar sounded better live than on record, but the allure of a knob twiddler is still something I have yet to latch onto in a live setting. I saw Four Tet at the same venue and it was horrible. A guy standing still in front of a laptop blasting his music ten times louder than it should be is not my idea of a good time. But Edgar was better than I would have thought and I will have to pull out his album to see if I missed something.

However, Lidell blew him out of the water. Let me set the stage for you. I had one hell of a leg cramp (culprit unknown, but I am looking in your direction dehydration) and my ladyfriend had just come from the dentist and had the Novocain smile working. So despite our desire to take our usual spot close to the stage we retreated upstairs to the seating area. This is always a bummer because you cant really dance upstairs at the Troubadour. But that cramp wasn’t going away and Ms. Sore Tooth needed to sit. In front of us were a lovely group of richy rich LA folk. You know the ones you have to yell “shut the fuck up!” in the middle of a song because they think that’s the best time to talk on their blackberry (It happened. Twice). Even with all these obstacles we came away grinning from the stage presence of Lidell. As my lady said “He’s like a one man Jackson 5!”

It is just him on stage with a sampler, keyboard and microphone. But he takes these simple elements and crafts a little bit of funk, some very dancy electronics and some shockingly good white boy soul. I don’t know a lot of people who have his latest album, but the venue was packed and everyone seemed to know the words. He danced, he sang, he got a little audience participation going. And he made people in Los Angeles dance en masse. This is like everyone in LA deciding to ride their bikes to work. It just doesn’t happen. Did I forget to mention his white shoes? Oh yes he was rocking them. I love white shoes.

Hopefully this tour will introduce him to a wider audience. I cant help but think his Coachella appearance will be odd. It worked great in an intimate setting, but a giant open polo field? Could be strange. But who cares? As soon as I heard Madonna was playing I made other plans. Me + huge crowds + desert + 4 hour drive – sleep = homicidal music fan.