Ladies and gentlemen, as Jamie Lidell calls his audience, Lidell has left most of the solo improvising and experimental layering behind, in favor of touring with a five-man band. Rather than balancing roles of producer and singer-performer, the strong support allowed for Lidell to simply sing a little bit of his British-born feel good soul in a tattered blazer and size 13 hobo shoes.
Most of the band adopted the homeless theme by adorning T-shirts ripe with holes or a faded tie-dye shirt, as was the case with the guitarist. Gone are the glitz and glam of previous shows — the theme Friday at the Grog Shop was one familiar to Clevelanders.
Despite their humble appearance, Lidell and company went right to work bringing the funk on "The Ring." After, they sprang into "Wait for Me," which was about the hardships of a long-distance relationship, but Lidell assured us that his current girlfriend accompanies him on the road.
When he briefly returned to the dual role of producer-performer, Lidell looped beatboxing, boom-bap electronic flourishes, and his soul extravagance on "The City."
The crowd was willing to absorb all of the theatrics and was certainly more than eager to shake their bums well before Jamie Lidell asserted that "Your Sweet Boom" was a "song for your derriere."
By night's end, we had everything but hallelujahs, as the audience emphatically raised their hands and sang along like this was a gospel performance at their church. This wasn't his first performance at the Grog, and based on his positive pandering to the audience, this clearly won't be his last.
In the space of retro dominance, the keyboardist was game to bring the boogie-down from Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove" to introduce the extended sleaze-fuzz version of "I Wanna Be Your Telephone."
Despite having a fine new record co-produced by Beck and contributions from members of Grizzly Bear and Feist, Lidell's set leaned heaviest on songs from the hook-laden Jim. When it came time for an encore, Lidell told his band to skip "Compass" as intended, and they went right into "Multiply" followed by a funkified version of "Little Bit of Feel Good."
It was more Sly & the Family Stone than Otis Redding, and frankly, ladies and gentlemen, it was a show-stopper. —Michael Tkach
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