St. Paul & the Broken Bones at Amsterdam, 7/31/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Steve Cohen

St. Paul and the Broken Bones
with Ryan Holweger
Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ahead of St. Paul and the Broken Bones' sold-out show at Amsterdam on Thursday night, Mayor Chris Colemen proclaimed that it was St. Paul Day in the city of St. Paul. The seven-piece soul band from Birmingham, Alabama, rose to the occasion during a 90-minute set that featured impassioned gems from their full-length debut, Half the City, as well as some wisely chosen covers that reverently mined the rich history of Southern soul music and the distinguished Muscle Shoals sound.

See also:
Slideshow: St. Paul & the Broken Bones rock Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Following Mayor Coleman's proclamation, the stellar six-piece band took to the stage and ignited the festivities with "Chicken Pox." The track had some crunchy, Booker T. & the M.G.'s undertones beneath the brassy sheen of the two-piece horn section composed of Ben Griner on the trombone and Allen Branstetter on the trumpet. After they sufficiently warmed up the room, vocalist Paul Janeway joined them to a loud ovation. Janeway's personality easily charmed the room, and his resonant voice gave each song heart.

After "Don't Mean a Thing," Janeway announced, "We're going to need to see some asses moving in the crowd to this next one," as the band launched into the Stax-heavy sound of "Sugar Dyed." Sadly, there wasn't much dancing throughout the full house. The band still tore through fervent versions of "Dixie Rothko" and "I'm Torn Up," which both had a smooth elegance to them.

Photos By Steve Cohen

"Happy St. Paul Day," Janeway declared proudly in his warm southern drawl. "Birmingham is going to have to step up now, and give us the keys to the city or something." They followed with a jubilant, horn-drenched take on Sam Cooke's "Shake" (done "Otis Redding-style," Janeway explained).

After a touching rendition of the woeful "Broken Bones and Pocket Change," the band changed tones and tempo expertly to begin a funky and filthy cover of Wilson Pickett's "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)."

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