Consider this review to be our rose to throw.RECORDS, LLC, 2016
Purchase: Sea of Noise
10 / 10
After absolutely loving St. Paul and The Broken Bones‘ sophomore release, Sea of Noise, I HAD to see the Birmingham-based six piece live. Thankfully, I got the chance to do so at the historic Levitt Shell amphitheater in Memphis, Tennessee as the band opened for the legendary Mavis Staples. Oh, and about Mavis Staples, the woman still has it, even after performing for over half a century. Yeah, this was a big event. In fact, ticket sales for this event will be used to support more than fifty free concerts/events at Levitt Shell next year. From where I was sitting, there isn’t a bad spot to watch a band perform in this venue. It’s also a great family atmosphere; saw many little ones running wild all over the lawn.
But I digress. St. Paul and The Broken Bones live up to the promise of a great live performance that their sophomore album suggests. Frontman Paul Janeway’s makes his singing seem effortless as his voice recalls the soulful style of CeeLo Green. His backing band — the usual drums, guitar, bass combo with the added big band textures of saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and keys — made it seem like you were watching a band from a different era. Indeed, there seems to be a resurgence of soulful rock recently with bands like Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and now St. Paul and The Broken Bones leading the charge. Janeway’s charisma was decorated on his appearance with a bright red suit and sparkly golden shoes. One of those shoes even came off during Janeway’s performance.
Highlights of the set included a trombone and saxophone duel where the true winner was the audience. The band brought the audience to two standing ovations. They briefly teased all of the keen-eared listeners with a quick cover of Radiohead’s “The National Anthem”, a song made for this type of band to cover. Paul Janeway’s dance moves are surprisingly fluid. Although he mentioned dancing on top of some of the tables in the sponsored section, he never did. That would have been fantastic to see though, and I doubt anyone would have cared. The set ended with the band being thrown roses that served as decorations on the sponsored tables. That stage would have been covered if every audience member had a rose to throw.