Monday, August 1, 2011

Concrete Blonde: One of the great, underappreciated rock bands of our time

L.A.-based rock band Concrete Blonde released its first album 25 years ago and, as such, became eligible this year for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They deserve a place in the hall for their amazing catalog of music, but sadly they probably won’t make it, because the rock hall is mostly a popularity contest.
The group is fronted by lead singer and bass guitarist Johnette Napolitano, who has an unforgettable voice. Her singing is by turns lovely, poignant, angry and rough.
She is backed by the great guitarist James Mankey, whose haunting style is as instantly recognizable.
Last night, I watched a live streaming-only concert Concrete Blonde performed in Joshua Tree, Calif., where Napolitano lives. The concert was streamed by StageIt.
The event, which wasn’t very well publicized, was an opportunity for die-hard fans to see an exclusive 30-minute set for $20. About 60 or so of us fans attended the event and participated in a live chat where we suggested songs to play and upcoming tour stops to make.
The audio was excellent, but the video was just OK.
It was a pleasure to see my favorite band play for a small group of us.
They stuck mostly to their hits for the set, which included “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song),” “Joey,” “God Is a Bullet,” “Caroline” and “Heal It Up.” A nice bonus was their cover of Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning.”
I hope they do another one of these online shows and play some of their deep cuts. I’d like to hear some of their songs that they don’t usually play in concert.
Keep up the great work, guys.

Other references:

Concrete Blonde entry on Wikipedia

Johnette Napolitano entry on Wikipedia

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