Concrete Blonde

Concrete Blonde to amerykanska grupa grajaca rocka alternatywnego. Oficjalnie powstali w roku 1982 i grali do 1995, po rozwiazaniu spotkali sie na scenie ponownie w latach 2001-2004 a ostatni raz zeszli sie w roku 2010 i graja razem do dnia dzisiejszego, lecz skoro nigdy nie wiadomo co przyniesie dzien jutrzejszy… warto cieszyc sie tym wszystkim tak dlugo jak to tylko mozliwe…

A wszystko zaczelo sie tak niewinnie: calkowity zakaz fotografowania i filmowania podczas koncertu nawet z komorek czy malych aparacikow. Potem odleglosc zwiekszono przynajmniej do 150m. Wreszcie czas rozpoczac show! Tylko 3 pierwsze utwory. OK mysle sobie :) poradze. Pierwszy: utwor instrumentalny prawie w ciemnosciach. Sale rozwiestlaja tylko dwa projektory rzucajace obraz na wielkie, biale tablice. Zachod, moze Utah, noc… Potem drugi utwor Johnette wychodzi ubrana w dlugi, wloczkowy plaszcz/poncze. Zostal jeszcze ten jeden, jakas nadzieja. Wkrotce pryska. Cudowne gitary basowej prowadzenie rozbija wszelka nadzieje – brak swiatla… Jako dodatek: koncert byl przerywany trzykrotnie. Raz gdy publicznosc byla zbyt glosna, a wokalistka zapytala: “Do you understand English? Be quiet!” Dwukrotnie gdy wypatrzyla kogos z publicznosci niepostrzezenie podnoszacego telefon do wykonania zdjecia: “Stop him!” Warto bylo. IMDB Pump Up The Volume –> You Tube Everybody Knows

 

The world was supposed to end on this very day, instead a great Concrete Blonde gig took place at Park West, and the world is still spinning out of control. Seeing Concrete Blonde is always a treat. They are one of the finest American rock bands. Their blend of punk, rock, soul, and dry feel of the dry desert is quite outstanding. Add Johnette Napolitano’s emotional vocals to the mix, and you get true magic in front of your eyes.

Concrete Blonde delivered a great set in Chicago. It’s not the first time the band triumphed in this city, in fact there is long history of award winning shows in Chi-town. There’s certainly a mutual love and respect between the band and the city. When Concrete Blonde comes people come out and support the band. Such was the case this Friday night, the trio was anticipated, and for many this was the most ideal Christmas gift.

The group played a two hour set, and kept the atmosphere very cool and loose. It felt in many ways as if they were improvising the majority of the set, but it felt natural and flowing. It was a very interesting evening, Napolitano appeared to be having a lot of fun on stage, although at odds with cell phones and other such gadgets. Try to flash one in front of her, and you wish you were deported! And rightfully so, why ruin a great memory with some crappy cell phone pictures?

The set list was quite interesting. Of course you got the Concrete Blonde classics, “Joey” and all, but what made the evening interesting were the covers the band chose to perform. Right off the bat, the group unleashed Midnight Oil’s “Bed’s Are Burning.” Their version of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” is historic, and it certainly was one of the highlight’s of the evening. But it was the apocalyptic version of “Ghost Riders In The Sky” that absolutely stole the show. That was spine chilling, and Napolitano’s calmness and coldness was beyond belief. This band has a great knack for coming up with great covers, so keep ‘em coning.

Guitarist, James Mankey, played beautifully, hitting all the chords, and creating structures for these wonderful songs. Drummer, Gabriel Ramirez, provided the beats necessary to round all of the songs, and sometimes none at all. And Napolitano, poured her soul through the microphone, and played some mean bass. For “Mexican Moon,” Mankey and Napolitano switched their instruments, and experimented a little.

It was an amazing evening with a great American band. For one of the encores, Napolitano delivered “Tomorrow Wendy” acapella, proving once again that she is one of the best singers out there. The memories of this evening will remain with many of the fans for months to come, or that is until Concrete Blonde decides to rock Chicago again!

Mark Kadzielawa

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