Sunday, February 21, 2010
Concert review: Keite Young at the Grotto (February 20)
Rockin' soul with a sexy punk twist.
FORT WORTH I wasn't sure what to think of Keite Young the first time I saw him live back in September. He had Snarky Puppy backing him up, so the music was solid -- but with his seductive vocals over familiar sounds and incomparable stage presence, I was thrown for quite a loop. Keite knows how to work a stage. His habit for slinking down to the crowd and serenading on bended knee the ladies on the front row had my head spinning. I wondered at points if the band was going to step in or just let this guy grab my hand and gyrate. (They did not step in, as they found the whole scene hilarious). With the help of incomparable gospel vocalists Peaches and Candy West, Keite turned a band I know better than myself into an alarming and dangerous soul situation. I liked it, even if I wasn't sure what to do with it (other than dance).
Since then, I have acquainted myself with Keite's body of work, including a sultry duet with N'Dambi on the most popular single from his last album, "If We Were Alone." He was joined onstage with his usual band and the fortunate addition of Shuttle's Matt Skates on bass. They still managed to startle me with their seamless transitions between popular covers of Kings of Leon and Gnarls Barkley to original tunes blending soul, punk, and straight up rock.
One minute we'd be lulled into the familiarity of an improving cover of "Use Somebody" (to keep the TCU side of the eclectic Fort Worth crowd happy), the next we'd be taken to church -- only to have our hair tossled by an outright punk approach to soul. Mark "That Wanker" Lettieri was on hand (mysteriously without the usual wind machine) to make sure rock was never more than a throbbing riff away. At one point, he and Matt Skates engaged in a masturbatory showdown the crowd was only too happy to egg on. It was filthy. This is music you can bang your head to one minute and shake your hips to the next. Attempting both simultaneously is best left to professionals.
True to form, Keite got down -- literally -- to writhe about on stage while the band lost their minds over a Prince cover they swear they'll never do again. Keite has a way of making sure the show slinks off the stage and into the crowd, right up to the ladies hips (one way or the other). No matter where you are in the room, the seductiveness of soul and gripping rock make the experience inescapably captivating. You can rest assured the brave fans will crowd the front and Keite will always lend the disclaimer that, for at least four minutes, the women belong to him.
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