Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Williamsburg’s Best Dance Party

The idea of a dance party in Williamsburg might sound like an oxymoron, but there is one and it’s great fun. To the uninitiated, Rev. Vince Anderson might seem like an unlikely host, but to his fans – who packed Union Pool Monday night to the point where it was hard to move – he puts on the best party in town. Anderson has reinvented himself as many times as Bowie or Madonna, and the keyboardist/showman’s latest incarnation is as the leader of a deliriously slinky gospel-flavored groove orchestra. Which makes sense: he’s got the rhythm section from Chin Chin, Paula Henderson (late of Moisturizer) on baritone sax, and Dave Smith of Smoota and the Fela pit band on trombone, who all know something about getting a crowd to move. Monday night Anderson also had a dynamite girl backup singer along with Jaleel Bunton (known to some as the drummer in TV on the Radio) on fiery, noisy funk guitar, and longtime Stevie Wonder and David Bowie drummer Dennis Davis celebrating his birthday by sitting in on a couple of numbers. As Anderson has been doing for years, he jams out all the songs for sometimes as much as twenty minutes or more. This time, there wasn’t much sermonizing (the Rev. is a real minister): he was in too good a mood to do much more than play, sing, leap up on the bar, send the chandeliers overhead swaying ominously, and jump from the stage to surf on the outstretched arms of the crowd.

Anderson’s new songs are also a lot different from his older material. Throughout the first set, he stuck with a darkly reverberating, sometimes piercing electric piano tone, playing incisive funk lines worthy of Billy Preston (one of his idols). He opened the set with a long oldschool disco vamp to get the crowd energized, and it worked. The band followed that with a sultry, sexy, fast funk groove where Henderson and then Smith both blasted through a verse and then straight through the turnaround, they were having so much fun.

Anderson then flipped the script with a long, dynamically charged song that sounded like a murder ballad, reaching a roar as the chorus finally kicked in. From what managed to cut through the PA, the lyrics seemed to be directed at someone who’d be the kind of person to just stand and watch Jesus struggle all the way up to Golgotha. Davis joined them for a couple of numbers, bringing back the ecstatic dance vibe. Then Anderson launched into a doo-wop flavored soul song about having a hard time saying goodnight to a girl, which served as the springboard for some searing, bluesy electric piano cascades. They wrapped up the set with a long singalong on This Little Light of Mine, which continued on the dance floor and in the entryway to the back room after the band had left the stage. At half past one in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, it was kind of weird seeing a bunch of white kids who’ll never have to work a day in their lives singing along to an old gospel song written by slaves their great-great-grandparents possibly owned. But there was also something undeniably heartwarming about it. Rev. Vince Anderson plays every Monday night at Union Pool starting around 11.

Advertisements

September 1, 2010 - Posted by | concert, funk music, gospel music, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, soul music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.