The Scene: When we pulled up to the Larimer and saw the huge retro tour bus parked right across the street from the venue we knew we were in for a treat. The line at the door was about 15 deep and we waited in the chilly November air for about 10 minutes to get in. Fortunately we were able to watch the filming of a super low budget movie right down the block. There was some bad acting and an even worse fight scene but it made for a funny moment as we all chuckled about it in line.
The Larimer was pretty crowded. Probably about 2/3rds full and as it was an all ages show there was a small teen contingent that rubbed shoulders with veterans of the Denver music scene. There were clubbers, indie-rock kids and even a tall wasted white girl. That being said, I was glad to see that the crowd wasn’t as white as it usually is in Denver. Apparently this British white-boy soul singer has the chops to appeal to all races, ages and social demographics. Everyone was represented and it was great to be at the Larimer on a Thursday night and have a little bit of that big city feel.
Opener: Snax. After waiting in the line to get in the door and wading through the crowd to get to the crowded bar we missed Snax’s set. I did run into him in the crowd at the begining of Lidell’s set and he confided in me that he was going to get up on stage at the end of evening. “Don’t tell anyone though, it’s a surprise.” When he did climb up on stage he added some tasty synth and vocals to the mix and between his wild hair and Lidell’s Leopard print robe they made for a crazy looking duo. Lidell even admitted that they were suffering a bit from partying a bit too hard the night before in Denver for Snax’s Birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SNAX!
Jamie Lidell: Lidell appeared on stage at about 11:00 dressed in what appeared to be a Leopard print boxing robe and dropped right into the first song proving that the soulful voice that dominates his recent release Multiply isn’t a product of studio magic.
Throughout his hour long set he dazzled with his vocal prowess and his amazing ability to create looping electronic music on the fly. I had never seen Lidell live before but I had read numerous accounts of his performances and honestly nothing really prepared me for what the experience. His vocals are worthy of all the lofty comparisson that have been directed his way and the way he wove his electronic wizardry into the mix was nothing short of awe inspiring.
During the first song or two of the set there was some talking in the back but it wasn’t long before the skeptics focused their attention on the stage as Lidell descended into the first of several electronic jams of the evening. From time to time he deviated from the recorded structure of the songs but always with great results. He brings an infexious energy and a creative passion to the stage that is rarely equaled. The kids in the front were throwing their hands in the air and singing along all night. A couple times during the evening he jumped off the stage into the crowd to walk among his fans, he held the mic out and let crowd members sing back-up and at one point he even left the mic facing the crowd as we sang “A Little Bit More” while he sampled our contribution and looped the results into his mix. He made an intimate venue even more intimate because he really seemed to be enjoying his role as an entertainer.
In true rockstar fashion he saved his “hit” for last and when he said “Ok, now I’m gonna play the one song you guys know the words to,” the crowd went nuts. A very tight version of “Multiply” ensued and the crowd danced their way to the end of a genre bending night at the Larimer.
The only thing missing from this evening was the video portion of his live show that has been raved about during his larger European shows. Granted, the tight confines of the Larimer wouldn’t have allowed for much but it leaves me wondering what more the man is capable of. His show was already captivating and the addition of Pablo Fiasco and his visual contributions could only have thrown it further over the top. Maybe he is keeping something up his sleeve for his next tour of the states.
With his obvious comittement to excellence in both the recorded and live arenas there is little doubt that Lidell’s star will continue to rise and those lucky enough to catch him in a venue like the Larimer will remember it as they crane their necks to see from the back of a packed auditorium in the future.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: C+