Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Roxy 11.4.06

Last night I saw Jackie Greene at The Roxy on Sunset Blvd. I'd never been to this room, and was excited to see an artist that I thought had the potential to put on a great show. I initially saw Greene on Conan O'Brien back around the time his album American Myth came out in March. There's a clip of this performance on Jackie's MySpace page.

I was pretty much immediately hooked by his sound. This kid plays really rockin' blues rock. He plays electric and acoustic guitars equally well, harmonica, and keys. I'll review the show more in depth later, but wanted to post the setlist, since I know it may be hard to find. Being the uber-dork that I am, I brought my Moleskin notebook and took notes: guitar switches, energy level, sit vs. standing, etc.

The trio that opened for Greene was a reggae group that although that had good energy and genuinely enjoyed playing they made me remember why I don't really like reggae: it all sounds the same. Every song they played eventually sounded the same, no matter if it started in a different key or with a different guitar riff. It all evolved the same way and became predictable and boring. They were pretty good musicians, but the music totally didn't jive with me. On to the good stuff.

Jackie Greene made his appearance in jeans and a black short-sleeve button-down shirt on stage at approximately 10:15pm to a raucous roar from the crowd. Was there any doubt that he'd open with a song titled "Hollywood"? How would you not open with a song named after the town you're performing in? With the energy he was giving off, it was obvious from the start that this would be a great show.

I was anxious to see Greene's chops on the harmonica, and I got the chance only 3 songs in with "Farewell, So Long, Goodbye." This was a rocker. A Blues Rocker. In addition to wearing the harmonica a la Dylan he switched guitars to a black Epiphone (I love being close enough to know what gear they're using). This song rocked, the energy was now flowing and the crowd was dancing and totally into the set.

The next song's lyrics could have been written by Johnny Cash lamenting June Carter:
You just can’t trust them pretty girls
They’re only here to wreck your world
And make sure you never get to sleep at night

I don’t know the reasons why
They all wanna hang you out to dry
Till’ you ain’t got strength enough left to fight

Oh but I’m in trouble
Like I know you’re bound to get in trouble too
And I know that it won’t be long
Before the man you love is loving someone new

In addition to great lyrics Jackie switched to the Wayne's World guitar, a.k.a. a pristine all white Strat. At this point, I thought to myself, "man, if I signed a record deal I'd do the same thing...go out and buy a shitload of great guitars." If I counted correctly, Jackie used 6 different axes through the course of the evening when he wasn't seated at the keyboards.

The next standout in my mind was the song "Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right." This was a change of pace as Jackie sat at the keyboard that was programed to sound like a Hammond organ (think Ray Charles) and started as a sloooow blues song, but kept building till peaking right near the end of the song. The beginning and throughout the song Jackie showed off his keyboard prowess, switching between a piano and organ sounds. There's just a feeling and vibe you have to have when playing that organ sound. When to hold notes and when to go really quick. It's all the emotion in the song and lyrics.

After performing the more well known "So Hard To Find My Way," Greene took a seat in the middle of the stage with his natural finish acoustic and harmonica around his neck to sing "Just As Well." This was a great point to take a little breather and get a couple more slow numbers in. The second song from his chair he introduced as "brand brand brand new." This was performed with a black Gibson acoustic into a vintage bullet mic (the type used by the likes of Little Walter for projecting a harmonica over a band) that also gave his voice a slightly distorted effect.

The end of the set was full of energy from "Mexican Girl" to "I'm So Gone." They stayed off stage as the crowd chanted "Jack-ie Jack-ie Jack-ie" They stayed off in the wings for a couple minutes before taking the stage for a one song encore. The band and Jackie totally jammed out for this encore. Beginning with a drum intro Jackie came out with this sparkling baby blue Fender that he hadn't used all night till now. Greene's guitar melody line in this song is so bluesy it was great. He also sang into the bullet mic. His lead guitarist and him exchanged a couple guitar solos during the song with the lead using a blues slide technique (plastic slide on his left ring-finger). This song lasted in the neighborhood of 7-8 minutes and was a great end to an amazing show.

Jackie Greene @ The Roxy on Sunset, November 4, 2006
1. Hollywood
2. Nothing Comes From Nothing
3. Farewell, So Long, Goodbye
4. By The Side Of The Road, Dressed To Kill
5. The Rusty Nail
6. About Cell Block #9
7. When You're Walking Away
8. Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right
9. So Hard To Find My Way
10. Just As Well (seated)
11. I Don't Live In A Dream (seated) NEW
12. Down In The Valley Woe -->
13. Mexican Girl
14. Closer To You
15. The Lord Mistreats Me
16. I'm So Gone
17. Cold Black Devil / 14 Miles