Monday, January 14, 2013

Sights & Sounds: Keane, Bruno Mars, Americana album reviews

Special thanks to my wife Kim for taking the great photos at the Keane show!

Singer Tom Chaplin and drummer Richard Hughes
On Saturday night (Jan. 12, 2013), I caught Keane's latest performance here in Southern California. I likely sound like a broken record here, but just as has been the case dating back to the first time I caught the Brits at Coachella in 2005, they are simply fantastic. Singer-guitarist Tom Chaplin's soaring vocals are the band's immediate selling point, but dig deeper and the mix of driving piano (courtesy of Tim Rice-Oxley) and in-the-pocket rhythm work from drummer Richard Hughes and bassist Jesse Quin all delivered in support of accessible and intelligent melodic rock is a magic formula everytime. The Pantages Theatre was definitely the place to be on Saturday!

In addition to powerful versions of Keane classics from the first couple of albums the band released in the mid-00s ("Bend and Break," "Somewhere Only We Know," "Crystal Ball," "Bedshaped"), songs from the band's latest disc (2012's Strangeland) were equally potent, notably "Neon River" and my favorite track on the album, "Sovereign Light Cafe."

Check out writer George A. Paul's thoughtful and spot-on review of the show posted on The Orange County Register site.

Speaking of articulate reviews, my Music Worth Buying co-host TJR is flying solo this week and has posted a review of Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox. You can view it here.

Finally, check out my latest column posted on Desert Star Weekly where I review four Americana titles that were issued in 2012. Click here to read my column.

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