Jamie Lidell 09/09/10
Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO
Words by Brad Darby
Jamie Lidell, a singer / songwriter from the UK who currently resides in New York City, made a stop at Old Rock House to bring his unique blend of electronica, funk, and pop through St. Louis on his fall tour. Touring with a full band, including drums, bass, keyboards, guitar and a synthesizer, Lidell packed a decent crowd into the venue on a rainy Thursday night.
Jamie Lidell’s style incorporates electronica music, provided by a synthesizer and some keys, with his ever so soulful voice. He is influenced by the likes of Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and Prince, and it shows in his performance. Prior to the show at the Old Rock House, I had looked up a few articles about him and watched a few live videos so I knew what to expect. Most of the articles compared him to Prince, although I didn’t get that vibe live. What I did see was a man that had a stellar voice, soulful and smooth, but just rough and raspy enough to cut down to your core. He could go from an upbeat funk song one minute to being soft and soulful, singing about love lost the next. In addition to the full band, he uses vocal looping, including beat boxing, to create a background for his beautiful lyrics. He is a showman as well, sporting a bright colored, flashy jacket like something you would see your estranged car salesmen uncle wear to the horse track on a Thursday afternoon. While I didn’t get the Prince feeling watching him live, I did get a definite Jamiroquai vibe, with the exception that I don’t really care for Jamiroquai. Lidell has developed a solid following in the states over the past few years, and was featured as an artist to watch at the 2006 Coachella Festival.
Jamie Lidell and the band played for about an hour and a half, playing tracks from Lidells three most recent albums. Lidell crooned “Little bit of feel good goes a long way, I need your touch to get me through my day. Watching you sleeping I pray, Please don’t make my feel good go away” during “Little Bit of Feel Good” from 2008’s Jim, which won the award for best Pop/Rock album at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards. During “Enoughs Enough”, the first single from his most recent release Compass, which is co-produced by Beck, it was tough to find someone not moving their body to the groove. There was one tune missing however, that people seemed to notice, the first track from Compass, “Completely Exposed.”
After the final song of the set, the band thanked everyone for coming out and stood behind three or four shirts to create the illusion they were backstage. After a moment, they got back to their places, Lidell declared “Thanks very much St. Louis, its been fucking brilliant” and into the encore they went. First was “All I Wanna Do” which was very heavy on the vocals. This slower song showcased the soulfulness of Lidell’s voice. During this song, he sounded a lot like Otis Redding or Sam Cooke, it was a fantastic song and performance, perhaps my favorite of the night. The final song of the night was the title track to the 2005 album Multiply, performed acapella. This song seemed to be a fan favorite, as many people were singing along.
I must say, I went into this show with no expectations. I had heard a handful of songs, and enjoyed them, but didn’t know what to expect live. Sometimes a singer/songwriter can be very boring live, just sitting on a stool or standing and playing their boring breed of acoustic music. Other times you get someone who knows how to manage a stage and an audience, has an actual stage presence, and talent. Jamie Lidell definitely fits into the latter category. He is a true showman.
Catch this funky-soulful performer on his trek across the country if you get the chance. You can get more information about Jamie Lidell at www.jamielidell.com