REVIEW: Jake Clemons and Garland Jeffreys rock the house in Minneapolis
Note: Blogness correspondent Kim Tschida Petters took in the Jake Clemons/Garland Jeffreys show in Minneapolis Nov. 15, and was nice enough to file this report.
“Hail Hail Rock and Roll” seemed to be the mantra Friday night at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis: a double bill with Jake Clemons opening for Garland Jeffreys.
I was excited to see Jake perform songs from his new EP, “It’s On.” As he toggled among the guitar, the saxophone and the keyboard I was happy to see a young artist and his band making their way. The songs are powerful and engaging and his stage presence welcomes you.
I couldn’t help but think what it must be like going from a stage that faces 60,000 people who scream at your moves to a room of maybe 200 people who are sitting in folding chairs as though they are watching a movie. Perhaps this is what impressed me the most – Jake and his band still gave us all of their energy. They were excited and that was obvious.
The alt/rock songs are strong and a bit edgier when performed live, and this 45-minute set was the perfect rock sneak peak into what is to come from Clemons. Not to mention the perfect opening to a night with Garland Jeffreys.
From the moment Jeffreys, the 69-year-old NY-based rocker, stepped on stage he commanded and delivered his song, and his anthem. Styled in black pants and a black sequined shirt, Jeffreys played songs from his new album, “Truth Serum,” as well as favorites from his long and prolific career.
His energy is inspiring and his voice is mesmerizing and strong. As he sang “I used to be a contortionist” and moved about the stage, I had to wonder if it might be true. He jumps into the audience, engaging them as he goes along. Then back to the stage for more.
Garland’s star began to rise after the release of the single “Wild In The Streets” and its follow up album, “Ghost Writer.” Although there have been no major hits for him, he has continued to release critically acclaimed records like “American Boy & Girl” and “One Eyed Jack.” At the Cedar he performed like a star, playing many songs from his album “Escape Artist.”
I must confess I’m rather new to the music of Garland Jeffreys but knew somehow that a transformation was about to take place. That somehow in that room of 200 people and a rock and roll band – I became the lucky one. The new one in the know. “Rock and Roll saved my life and saved my soul!” Jeffreys belts out – that is what this night is about as he conveys tales of race, of growing up in New York, and his long friendship with Lou Reed.
Tireless and energized, he brings the streets of New York into this Minneapolis night. There is no refrain as he delivers “Coney Island Winter,” “Modern Lovers” and “Mystery Kids.” Not to mention the power of “‘Til John Lee Hooker Calls Me.”
Something magical happens when an artist like Jeffreys performs and “Rock and Roll Music!” transforms.
For more on Garland Jeffrey’s tour, visit garlandjeffreys.com. For info on Jake Clemons’ appearances and new EP, visit jakeclemons.com.