Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Point: Lee Fields live at the Echoplex

Lee Fields and the Expressions capped off a wild night at the Echoplex with a relentless set of old school soul that kept the crowd in thrall.  He came, saw, dusted off his snappy gold shoes, and conquered.  Backed by The Expressions, he burned through a set drawing largely on his last two releases, My World and Faithful Man, (on Truth And Soul), giving the crowd not only what they wanted, but what they needed.
Fields has worked the trenches for a long time, evolving from his heavily James Brown influenced early 70's singles through a gamut of styles, falling into obscurity until hooking up with Brooklyn based Daptone Records for a few 45's that showed the absorbtion of the JB influences into his own singular thing.  Upon landing at Truth And Soul, his collaboration with their house band The Expressions has proved fruitful, taking him to his highest vantage point yet on a long journey.

As evidenced above and below, Lee Fields just does not quit.  Of the show's highlights, above is "I Still Got It", from Faithful Man.  Below, he perfects his strut & preen on "Money I$ King" from My World.  Upon seeing these, it makes perfect sense why folks were so captivated with his breakout performance at this year's SXSW.  In an age of TV karaoke talent shows, this gentleman is ready for Mt. Rushmore.

Naytronix features Nate Brenner from tUnEyArDs, holding down the opening duties. This project veered off on a hard danceable tip, ignoring chillwave and looking back to the rhythmic side of the New York No Wave explosion.
It was weird, kinetic, and utterly danceable.  An EP is currently available, and they just signed with LA based Plug Research; an album will surely follow soon.

Cody ChesnuTT, journeyman new soul troubador, has been working the underground side of the street since early major label misadventures, and it has reflected well on his music, if not so much on his wallet.  His monster bedroom project The Headphone Masterpiece and a cover of his song "The Seed" are what would ring a bell with most folks.  His last release was an EP in 2010, Black Skin No Value and his future holds a full length entitled Landing On A Hundred, tentatively scheduled for this year.
All his skills were on display in the middle spot, and he got the behinds back on the floor.  Highlight of the night was the jawdropping "No Turning Back", in which he channeled the spirits of Gil Scott-Heron and Donny Hathaway in equal measure.  No superstar duets, just good old down home grooves, and songwriting that doesn't make you wince and grab your head.  Who says they don't make them like that anymore.

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