Thursday, September 20, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka - Paradise, Boston Show Review

Michael Kiwanuka
Paradise Rock Club
Boston MA
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Support – Foy Vance, Marcus Foster

I've been lucky to have seen many a great show in 25+ years of going to concerts and just the other night I saw one that sky rocketed in to my top ten shows of all time list. British Singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka brought the house down at the Paradise on a cool late summer evening.

Arriving on stage shortly after 10 Michael and his band (five other players) would play for a little over one hour and have us all in the trance. A bad reviewer moment here, I don't know the guys in the band name. Percussion, drums, bass, keyboard and guitar they all deserve equal credit. Percussion was all over the place, he was never not moving. The drumming was solid and tight all night long.

Michael would rotate between acoustic and electric guitars. From the opener “I'll Get Along” we knew we were going to be in for a treat. Michael has an easy stage presence. He gets in to it, but not over the top. Almost embarrassed to let it all go. His shy smile adds to the charm of set as he seems surprised at times with the enthusiastic reactions. “Tell me a Tale” was extended to about 10 minutes and the band really seemed to have fun stretching out early in the set.

A few songs later Michael thanked us for coming and introduced “May This be Love”, a Jimi Hendrix tune. They then proceeded to make this song their own. An extended, and very hard hit, drum kit fires off with the keyboardist for a tight version, and by the time Michael comes back in on the vocals the audience just erupts in approval. They then calmly wrap up the song, a roadie appears and trades guitars and they go in to “I'm Getting Ready”. This was the track that introduced me to his music so it was a thrill to hear, and in a blink of an eye it was over. He offered up vocal assistance to the audience saying “You can sing along if you'd like”. Smiles on faces kept many from singing.
Micheal was not overly chatty, keeping the focus on the music. He'd talk quickly about a “new song” and told a nice story before playing “Rest” about how he wanted to play it for us in the style that it was written. Roughly translated to he did this acoustic with just a bass part. The audience was respectful the whole night, but this was that “moment”. A few hundred people didn't hear chatter, bottles clank. Moments like that at a show can add so very much.

The whole show wrapped up with a cover of the Bill Withers song “I Don't Know”. This was another very extended jam with a lot of sing alongs. The band would leave the stage and the houselights would come up. There would be no encore.

Full Setlist:

I'll Get Along
Tell Me A Tale
Always Waiting
May This Be Love (Jimi Hendrix)
I'm Getting Ready
Home Again
If You'd Dare (new)
I Don't Know (Bill Withers)

So what was it that made it make my “top 10” shows of all time list. A series of things helped. A great sound system, fantastic songs and the right people that shelled out the 20 bucks. Everyone “got it”.

See him live if you get the chance. You can thank me later..but thank Micheal first for such an honestly breath taking show. No fancy lights, no smoke just a very committed crew of guys creating one of the most perfect 70 minutes I've personally ever heard.
Just two more images to share:
 The set list from stage:
If anyone knows the band members, comment away I'd love to reference them.

Official Site

Some Tubage
I'm Getting Ready
May This Be Love

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At Friday, September 21, 2012 1:15:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Paradise show and like you was mesmerized. I felt really lucky to see Michael play in such an intimate setting because this guy is going places. I know the talented keyboardist name is Steve Pringle - met him after the show. Great night.


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