Sunday, December 6, 2015

St. Paul and The Broken Bones with Seratones at The Culture Room

Back in January, I said I might have set the bar too high for best concert of the year because the first show I saw this year, St. Paul & The Broken Bones at The Beacham in Orlando, was on a level I never really understood before. And, although at least one other show this year came close (Ana Tijoux), I would have probably ended the year still saying that show back in January was the best of the year. Except that last night, that certainty was, at the very least, brought into question. Very serious question, by (wait for it) St. Paul & The Broken Bones who turned The Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale into some kind of sweaty soul church that I never wanted to leave.

the culture room
Sertones brought it.
Opening for them last night was Sertones, who were also pretty damned good. This band from Louisiana play a certain flavor of Rock n Soul that brought to mind some of the psych and mod influenced bands of the 60s. Their groove is heavy with an almost punky feel but still firmly rooted in R&B and soul hooks. I had only heard two songs before the show, (the only 2 currently available on Spotify) but I was bobbing along to all of it. They really brought the party vibe with them and it stayed all night. As a matter of fact, singer AJ Haynes came out to join St. Paul on their "last" song, "Make it Rain." She is an electric performer in her own right. Watch this band, I will be.

st. paul and the broken bones
Browan Lollar
From the opening notes of the instrumental intro, "Buy the Ticket" the crowd was informed that The Broken Bones meant business. And once Paul hit the stage, it was a done deal. Everyone was in his pocket instantly. This is not the sort of band you see in small venues for very long, even though that's probably where they really do best, so I can't emphasize enough how lucky I feel to have seen them twice in small venues. And last night, it was front row, baby!

Throughout the show, I sort of dangled in a strange place of overwhelming joy where I had a perma-smile and was on the verge of tears. At one point, when they played "Broken Bones and Pocket Change," which was a performance that I don't even have a word for because it I'm not sure you can emphasize the word SOUL enough, I may have even gotten a little lightheaded. It would be easy to put the glory for this all on Paul, and the man is a born performer and really did own everyone in that tiny club, but don't ever, ever, EVER discount what the Bones are doing. That band, as a unit, as individuals, as conduits for everything they play, is impeccable.

paul janeway
St. Paul Janeway preaching.
They played a lot of new songs last night that hint at a funkier direction on the album they mentioned they were going into the studio to start recording. They played a fucking mind melting cover of The Beatles' "I Want You." I cannot wait to hear the new album and although I immediately and desperately wanted to see them live again when it was over, I get the feeling they will be too big to play the venues I like. On the other hand, they've been playing large venues and still found pockets to play small as well, so maybe there's hope. I hope. But I also don't want to take their deserved success away in any way. 

I don't want to spend too much time talking about it, really. So let's just leave it here. That show back in January was my first time ever going to a show by myself and it's an experience I enjoyed and will do it again. But when I left that show, I really felt evangelized and like I needed loved ones to see what I had seen. Hear what I had heard. Feel what I had felt. So when I found out they were coming to Ft. Lauderdale, I knew I was going, but made damn sure to drag some loved ones to church with me. Watching my wife and friends be blown away by this band was a feeling of not so much "I told you so" satisfaction, as it was a "yes, now you understand." And, really, no matter how much I write about it or show you videos, you won't understand until you're in the room, sweating and shaking with them.

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