First thing you need to know, Foreigner 2019 is not your Father’s Foreigner.
Gone is the golden voice that belted out the songs of many people’s youth. Lou Gramm (vocals) and Mick Jones ( Guitar, Keys, vocals) wrote collectively or individually a Rock n Roll catalog which placed the band as one of the biggest selling bands of all time. Gramm may be gone but Mick, his new band and the songs remain.
Foreigner 2.0 is led by what a front-man should be. Kelly Hansen has the chops to rival Gramm. Kelly Hansen has the energy to rival Mick Jagger. Kelly Hansen has the comedic banter to earn a position at Just For Laughs. Tunes like JukeBox Hero, Cold As Ice and Urgent are delivered with power, tightness and adrenaline. In short – Hansen makes it feel as if the (over forty) patrons in attendance are back in high school and worrying about pimples.
Jones (who was taught how to play ‘Hey Joe’ by Hendrix himself) is a legendary figure. Not many men or women can grace a stage with such a pedigree of tunes. Waiting For a Girl like You,Dirty White Boy, Hot Blooded,Feels Like The First Time andI Wanna Know What Love Is – all part of a Rock n Roll catalog which has stood the test of time. Rock n Roll purists cringed at the music of Foreigner in the eighties along with most of the eighties’ bands. Listening to Foreigner 2.0 in the present day makes the case for Rock n Roll 2019 being ‘dead’ ring true.
With many 2019 Rock bands, it is all about melancholy and Zeppelin – like screaming. Too many bands called Rock n Roll lack songwriting, harmonies and swing. Too many bands lack diversity. Foreigner and Foreigner 2.0 may have a sound that makes people aware who they are immediately yet within that sound is talent on many platforms. Within that sound is something that is essential to Rock n Roll. Saxophone.
Jeff Pilson (bass), Bruce Watson (lead guitar), Michael Bluestein ( keys) and Chris Frazier (drums) are powerhouses in their own ‘homes’. Collectively, released upon the masses, they are a band of gypsies hungry to rape and pillage musical souls with conviction. Foreigner 2.0 are kicking at the door of becoming Foreigner 6.0. Like the iPhone – Foreigner may change but the ‘apple’ remains close to the tree.
All the great bands in history have included Sax or horns on their records and live. Sax is what made the transition of Jazz ( Rock n Roll in popularity once upon a time) to Rock so smooth. The transition of Blues to Rock so smooth. The transition of Country music to Rock so smooth. Saxophone brings soul and a grounding to the guitars. It is a leash to harness the errant solos or the runaway singers. Tom Gimble last night at Place des Arts was the gatekeeper. Filling in and breathing out at the proper time.
Foreigner 2019 may not be your Father’s Foreigner but they are are not dead nor are they disabled. Foreigner 2019 are alive, well and making your son’s band look bad.
On paper – Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge look great as a double bill. In reality – they are greater than the sum of two parts …
When Joss Stone was in her Mother’s tummy, she attended one of her Mom’s favorite artists in concert. When Joss was seventeen – she sang as part of a duet with one of her Mom’s favorite artists. Last night at Places des Arts – Joss , once again, performed with one of her Mom’s favorite artists.
Melissa Etheridge remains constant in Joss Stone’s life.
Stone arrived on stage softly and that was about right for what was to transpire throughout most of the evening.
‘The Look of Love’, ‘Landlord’, ‘Stuck on You’ and ‘Victim of A Foolish Heart’ allowed Stone’s voice to shine through. In past performances at the Jazz festival – too much ‘screaming’ took place which took away from the sheer talent of Joss’ vocals. There is a time and place for everything and sometimes at a Joss Stone show – the lines are blurred.
Not last night at Salle Wilfred Pelletier.
The band maybe were caught by surprise as well.
Joss swerving from set-list and improvising like a bird on a wire. Reading the crowd and judging reactions, just one part of Joss’ seemingly arrival at professionalism.
Comfortable in her skin and comfortable with charming banter. Her British humor and accent disarming critics, the audience and her band. The latter injected life into what can be ( at times) a monotonous trip while the former – a very good idea.
‘Put A Spell on You’ and ‘Son of A Preacher Man’ ended things on a high note. Joss and her mates raising the energy and injecting history into the night. Passing the baton to …
If Melissa Etheridge was loved before last night’s show in Montreal, this morning – the city must be erecting a statue of her atop Mont Royal.
What’s with all these artists pre – dating 1995? Was water different in the old days or has political correctness taken all the creativity and passion out of life ?
Etheridge arrived in town on the heels of her new album; Memphis Rock and Soul. Its an album paying homage to Stax Records and all the great tunes which inspired generations of musicians and fans. Horn heavy with R&B and Country music as the ground wiring. In short – the elements which were the beginnings of Rock n Roll.
Etheridge is one of ‘those’ artists. A woman who has climbed, conquered, descended and now sits revered at the music clubhouse. Take away the battle with breast cancer and the same adulation and love is thrown her way for her music and activism on behalf of the ‘small folks’ in this world.
She doesn’t have to give a damn on stage yet she does – more than ever.
Melissa’s new (old) songs from the new disc were solid. ‘Memphis Train’, ‘Respect Yourself’ and ‘Rock You Baby’. Three tunes which enveloped the show in a torn up stained envelope. Countless cigarette burns, whiskey stains and sweat were duplicated admirably by Etheridge and her posse. After all – growing up listening to Soul, Country and Rock n Roll in Kansas will leave a definitive impression.
Melissa’s energy was alarming. Anyone under the age of fifty who huffs and puffs while eating Mae Wests at their desk should be ashamed.
Non – stop talking between songs, non – stop guitar playing, non-stop walking from side to side. Toss in some impressive harmonica work and a mini drum solo near show’s end – everyone in attendance needed a nap from watching . Just the power vocally in classics such as ‘Somebody Bring Me Some Water’, ‘I’m the Only One’, ‘Like the Way I Do’ and ‘Come to my Window’ enough to light up the Jacques Cartier Bridge’s pretty blue lights.
In 2005 – Joss Stone and Melissa Ethgeridge paid tribute to Janis Joplin at the Grammy Awards. Fast forward to Place des Arts last evening and the pair did it once again. The first time the talented duo have performed together since that emotional evening twelve years ago.
“Cry Baby’ and ‘ Piece of my Heart’ were meant for these two ladies of song. Stone’s range picking up the tenderness and the toughness while Etheridge’s emotion and vocals as raw as the spirit behind Joplin’s original impact. Rarely does a moment take place at The Festival these days that leave people talking for a few weeks or months. Ella Fitzgerald did it near the end of her life as she battled diabetes and last night, the combination of Etheridge’s survival status and Stone’s tutelage to one day be the grand lady of Soul – a perfect marriage on the alter of The Montreal International Jazz Festival’s legacy.
A piece of everyone’s heart was left at Place des Arts.
There is a lot of talent coming to the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2016 …
The Festival gets underway on June 29thwith Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings doing a free blow-out show to open the Festival. Jones, one of the best performers on the scene today –promises to deliver a opening showstopper for the ages.
Susie Arioli performs on July 2nd at Club Soda. On the heels of a tour to support her first album without Jordan Officer on guitar, ‘ Spring’ is a year long thing now. The show and tunes will be Susie’s coming of age …
Please enjoy my interview with Susie !
Lisa Simone, the daughter of Nina Simone, will be performing two shows as an opening act for Melody Gardot on June 29th and 30th at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier. Lisa, like her famous Mom – blessed with amazing vocals and a way with words. Just may be the hidden gem of the Festival !
Enjoy my interview with Lisa !
The stages will be busy this year ! Most of Montreal and Quebec’s top players will be on hand to ‘sing the Blues’ to anyone who will listen ! From The Paul DesLauriers Band at Metropolis to Dawn Tyler Watson at L’Astral – there is something for everyone both indoors and outdoors ! Free and Paid !
Here are some of the performers ….
Dawn Tyler Watson
Please keep coming back for all the news, reviews and interviews as part of The 37th Edition of