Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"...Let the Blind Boys tell ya in song..."

Mes Amis

Last night, the Blind Boys of Alabama came to Perth. Yes, their one UK date was Perth (Or Poith as they said it). Which was unusual but most decidedly welcome! And these boys put on one amazing show, I'll tell you!

Supported by a Zimbabwean band who were just incredible to hear, the Blind Boys filled out Perth's new concert hall which is quite a feat; its a pretty big venue.

The support from this amazing Zimbabwean band (I'm really sorry I have no idea who they were) was incredible. Using only their voices and their bodies (the slapping dance in train worker's gear was phenomenal to see) they created some absolutely beautiful music. And ending on that "In The Jungle" song they managed to get a few Perthites clapping, singing and having a good time.

But we were all here to see the Blind Boys. And the they did not dissapoint, let me tell you. I have had no exposure really to the Blind Boys. So this was kind of a blind (no pun intended) taste test for me. And let me tell you, these boys do soul, blues, gospel and everything in between like no one else can. From Curtis Mayfield to uplifting accapella spirituals, they do the lot. And, yes, they got the denizens of Perth up on their feet and clapping like no one's business (there may have some waving and dancing, too). And its amazing just how much energy they have, considering their age (these guys have going been for sixty odd years). Jimmy Carter on vocals is looking old but when he sings you can feel it reverberate in your soul. His cracked, passionate voice forces you to your feet. And when he's guided off the stage and into the crowd, you can just feel the way he connects with an audience. It is amazing to see as he whips people into a fever, spinning and hopping among the crowd (while his guide looks on anxiously, reaching out sometimes to steady the man). Its got the feeling of true gospel as he works the crowd, and you just know that if he can get the denizens of Perth on their feet and clapping and shouting out, "Yeah" then he's gotta be able to work other folks into a frenzy. The rest of the Blind Boys are just as passionate, too, with voices that shiver your soul and move your feet. The spiritual aspect of their music is always present, but whether or not you've been saved, their main message seems to be that you feel good. That's what a Blind Boys gig is about. It invigorates you and refreshes you. Whether you're saved or not (and I ain't, I'll tell you that) the Blind Boys' are all about the music, the way it makes you feel. And let me tell you it makes you feel good. And you know it makes them feel good. Just watching how excited Jimmy Carter gets when he's on stage, you know this music is his life, is what keeps him going.

It even made me forget about this cold I got, and trust me, when I'm ill, it takes something special to make me forget it.

Au revoir


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