In Montreal, it’s called ‘l’eau’ for your soul and that is exactly what Joss Stone provided at Metropolis on Sunday evening as the 36th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival drew to a close.
What a way to go out …
Joss Stone, complete with a ‘Superheavy’ resume constituting of collaborations with the likes of Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley, arrived in town as a precursor to the release of her upcoming 7th studio album; ‘Water for Your Soul.’
Stone bears all on stage. Not the ‘ mind in the gutter’ type baring, more like ‘shed-inhibitions-and-display-the-soul’ type undressing. Complete with shoe-less feet ( a Stone trademark), Joss neither attempts nor delivers any preconceived corporate shows. She is a hippy chick – through and through.
The song ‘Spoiled’ introduced Stone’s tremendous ‘live’ voice to a very receptive Montreal crowd. Singers such as Stone and her predecessors in the Soul / Rock / Blues category (women such as Aretha Frankin and Janis Joplin) are more times than not much better in person than their vinyl / digital representations. In other words – Memorex does not do Joss Stone justice.
Her arsenal on Sunday consisting of ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Baby Baby Baby’ are nothing new in the annals of popular music. The wheel has not been reinvented by Stone nor her band. In 2015 – it is difficult for any artist to truly come up with anything truly original especially in the style which Stone has etched herself. Voices are original. Vocal styles are not.
‘Super Duper Love’, from the 2004 album ‘Mind Body and Soul’ is the closest Stone has to an identifying tombstone in the graveyard of music. Catchy, bouncy with a body of soul – Super Duper is a song that comes around once -in-a-Brittany Spears. Take away Spears’ voice and add some depth – Joss Stone is front and center with a hit of her own minus the Illuminati drama.
At twenty-eight years young, Stone carries herself with extreme class combined with a touch of innocent flirtatious behavior. Why not? An entertainer utilizes whatever they must to get people to enjoy the show. In Stone’s case – her charm is much more inherited than acted. Some are born to be special and Stone compete with vocals, looks and character – is one of the ‘lucky’ ones.
One surprise last evening was Stone’s version of A White Stripes Song.
‘Fell in love with a Girl ‘ is the Stripes ‘ version and Stone (making a statement on her sexual preference perhaps), altered the lyrics to “Fell in Love with a Boy’. Either way, a perfect rendition of a well chosen song to display Joss’ versatility and her willingness to take risks.
A trio of songs which stood out like a giraffe in a herd of antelope represented different stages in Stones’ career. ‘You Had Me’ and ‘Right to be Wrong’ are part of the ‘here’s Josh Stone’ period while ‘ While You Are Out Looking for Sugar ‘ is the ‘ where’s Joss going next’ phase of her ( so far) 14 million album-selling career. All three representing brassiness, vocal perfection and a seasoned vocabulary.
A couple of songs from the ‘Water for the Soul’ album were strutted out while with the song “The Answer ‘ blending nicely from studio to live. Any songs from her work in the group Superheavy was sadly vacant. ‘Miracle Worker’ from Superheavy is another tombstone for Stone and it was a precursor for the upcoming Reggae-inspired ‘Water for Your Soul’.
Oh well, at least Stone is not as perfect as she sounds or looks …
Mike Love is his own entity. Figuratively and literally. Not only that – how many musicians visit Montreal from their native Hawaii?
Mike Love did last night at Metropolis as the opening act for Britain’s Joss Stone.
According to Mike ( and there is no reason to doubt him), his performance last evening – his 20th straight day singing on this current tour which ended in Montreal. Twenty days. That’s a lot of travelling for a musician and (again, according to Love) it caught up with him last night.
His voice was shot ( although he sounded fine) and he was very tired and fighting a cold. His almost hour long setdisplayed no weakness for the uninhibited.Perhaps real fans and his Mom may notice the difference yet for the normal folk checking Love out for the very first time – a show filled with reggae beats, creativity and natural melodies.
Mike has released one full album and another one is on the way on the first of September. At Metropolis, Love portrayed a caricature of a seasoned veteran. Love acted a caricature of himself.
Raised on Reggae among many diverse genres, last evening’s set was predominantly filled with his roots. A Hawaiian in Montreal conjures images contrasted in weather. Mike Love in Montreal in January would evoke memories of the Jamaican Bobsled team from the film ‘Cool Runnings.’ In Love’s song – ‘I Love You’, slight indications of the Bunny Wailer song ‘Cool Runnings’ floated in the air – figuratively and literally.
Layering acoustic and electric guitars over prerecorded vocals and instruments, enables Love uniqueness. It allows a full sound to be absorbed by an audience. His opening song ‘Leaders’ led the charge minus the overdubs as Love introduced himself to the ‘home’ crowd.
Mike ‘ gave’ and the audience ‘received’ in the night’s second track ‘Give n Receive. Suddenly, the punters took notice and realized that within Love’s ‘wall of Reggae’ – this was not a opening act to ignore.
Reggae is Reggae yet Love’s songs are much more than that. Part folk and part poetry, Mike scribes messages of hope fresh with words of the human condition.
‘Jah Will Never’, ‘Human Race’, ‘Permanent Holiday’ and ‘Dark Days, a set-list complete with searing vocals and some old fashioned scat tossed into the mix. Love, the type of performer willing to take risks and utilize his God given ability in many ways. Shamelessly he conducts his very own orchestra. Catchy choruses combined with global caring. |Important stuff from a soon-to-be-important fixture in the music world.
The Beach Boys had nothing to do with it (except for maybe the melodies), we will give them that much …
Listen to some of Mike’s songs below from his album‘The Change I’m Seeking’.
Stay tuned for my Joss Stone Review and a re-cap of the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival.