by Brad Roberts
Time for another band that are among my favorite live bands. Manchester's Elbow (at right) venture out of Great Britain infrequently enough that there's never any chance I will allow myself to miss them. Totally ingratiating, thoroughly professional, they always put on a show that is designed for both the larger venues they tend to play in and yet geared to each individual with the direct connection lead singer Guy Garvey seems to make eye contact with each and every audience member. His obvious joy of performing is transferred directly to us and the atmosphere is of unbridled mutual respect. They have a date on Wednesday at The Wiltern.
Locally, yOya are on the Air Life residency schedule at The Satellite and In The Valley Below have The Mercy Beat on tap at The Echo (it would be useful if the links at their website worked) for their Monday night Memorial Day shows. Speaking of the holiday, it may cause this week's listings to be a bit light with the day off and all. And get ready and mark your calendar, next Saturday, June 7, is one of Los Angeles' finest festivals, Make Music Pasadena. I've always had a great time at this event and this year looks to be no exception.
Last Friday was my chance to catch up with Jefferson Starship for their 40th Anniversary tour at Saban Theatre and it was pretty fascinating. I have to say the absence of Grace Slick is seriously felt, although Cathy Richardson has a fine voice that is perhaps more polished than Slick's, she doesn't have that particular tambre, creamy warmth or the sharp edges that made Grace so unique. But that complaint aside, it was wonderful to hear some of the more obscure songs in addition to the expected favorites. Culled from both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship catalogs, the set list, of course, included "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit", but it was songs from two of my favorite offshoot albums, Baron Von Tollbooth and The Chrome Nun and Blows Against The Empire that were thrilling to hear. Wish they'd played something from Sunfighter. Paul Kantner's voice may not hit the higher ranges he used to be capable of, but the voice is familiar and gains in it's deeper tones, while David Freiberg sounds remarkably just the same, so the trio, with Cathy, singing together still achieved some of the mighty vocal harmonies they were famous for.