Black Joe Lewis is having a party, and he wants you to come. The Austin-based musician and his backing band are bringing their funky brand of blues rock to the Bay at the Fillmore this Tuesday. But after listening to their records, it’s hard to say whether the audience should expect dance circles or mosh pits.
Frontman Black Joe Lewis epitomizes this uncertainty with his unique blend of James Brown soul and Iggy Pop power. His band’s first two albums, Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! (2009) and Scandalous (2011), showcase the band’s funkier side. Lewis’s voice and lyrics ooze 70s soul; the accompaniment features an incredible horn section and rhythms that could have been put together by James Brown himself. Lewis’s records are tight, dancey, and tons of fun. Throw one on at your next get-together and watch the funk force people to get up and move.
But the fuzzed-out opening on Lewis’s most recent album, Electric Slave, announces that this album deviates from its predecessors. The rhythms are less tight and the guitar solos are more aggressive. The horn section sounds meaner. Even Lewis’s voice is angrier. He screams throughout the record and his voice growls with a kind of pack-a-day effect. The entire record is grittier and fuzzier; it is hard to believe that the same band can channel both Funk Power and Raw Power.
The most interesting question about their upcoming show is how Black Joe Lewis will mix these styles in his live performance, if he chooses to do so at all. Check back here on Friday for a full recap, or come on down to the Fillmore on Tuesday to find out for yourself. I recommend wearing your dancing shoes–but dance with your elbows out, so any aggression won’t catch you off guard.
Article by Ryan Riedmuller