Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Friday night at The Stiefel Theatre in Salina and it was Keb' Mo" on stage singing The Blues. His new CD, That Hot Pink Blues Album debuted on this night and he was here to sing a variety of selections from this new CD. Keb' Mo' even showed up to the concert sporting a brand new hot pink tie for the occasion.
The evening started out low key as Keb' Mo' accompanied himself on the guitar and sang a soft, sweet song, "Do It Right". However, the stage was full of gear; a drum kit, an accordion, a couple of basses, an organ, a piano, and a synthesizer. And Keb' Mo' didn't disappoint as he went from song to song an gradually with each song, members of his band joined him on stage. On the song "City Boy" the organ came into play as Keb' Mo' accompanied himself on both guitar and harmonica, singing lyrics in an around the instruments he was playing. "Am I Wrong" brought the drummer up on stage and an audience sharing in the magic with rhythmic hand clapping. One of my favorite songs of the evening was "Suitcase" and this brought the final member of the band on stage to play base. If you haven't heard this tune, look it up on YouTube, you'll love it.
This evening wasn't all about the blues. There was also a couple of Zydeco tunes; "Don't You Know" and "I'm Telling You Now". At this point, the accordion joined in on the fun. "Life's Beautiful" had a bit of a Western Swing style to it, which was unexpected but amazing in the middle of a Blues show. It blended beautifully with the songs that came before it and after it. At this point Keb' Mo' left the stage briefly as the band began tuning up to play some Jazz licks on organ, drums and bass; then Keb' Mo' joined the band back on stage and played "Rita" and another Jazz tune entitled, of all things, "Government Cheese". There was also a bit of a '70's feel to this song, with extra synthesizer, organ and theramin licks thrown in through the middle of the song. Check out this link to hear the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WBqrSPZEOc
Keb' Mo' played straight through the entire concert and never took a break. He has amazing endurance, playing and singing on every song through a variety of tempo's, never slowing down once. The show was high energy and covered a wide range of musical styles that went far beyond just singing The Blues.
As a side note, as I was waiting for a table at Martinelli's Little Italy, before the show and across the street from the theater, I was people watching. I began to notice a few people who were shall we say, not like the others. There was a little different look to them. I began paying more attention to those around me. There were the usual Kansas folks; the Blues and Jazz people, an aging Hippie here and there, the regular folks, people dressed up and dressed down, and then these "others" who were dressed the same as everyone else and yet I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
So, the show starts up at The Stiefel Theatre and it suddenly dawns on me as various band members take to the stage, the stage hands replace guitars and various instruments and they move items around the stage; I've seen all these people before. They were walking up and down the sidewalks outside before the show. Another people watching mystery solved! Check out Keb' Mo's website to find out more about him and his music: http://www.kebmo.com/