Review: Keith Price @ The Park Theatre (Jazz Winnipeg’s Nu Sounds Series)
I really like the way Keith Price plays guitar. The notes and chords he uses weaves this dream-like atmosphere in his environment. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of silence with his instrument and he knows how to use space in his playing, the result being that the atmosphere stays even though he doesn’t play constantly. The rest of the band carries the atmosphere he’s created.
I had four 5-year-olds running around my house this afternoon, so by the time I reached The Park Theatre, I was ready for some downtime.
Keith’s atmosphere reached me almost immediately with Beck’s “The Golden Age” and I felt lulled, almost like his notes (and the lack thereof), were cradling me. This effect continued with Erin Propp singing Jose Gonzalez’s “With The Ink Of A Ghost” followed by The Weakerthans “Sun In An Empty Room” sung by Sheena Rattai.
Right around Death Cab For Cutie’s “Grapevine Fires”, I started to feel a bit bored. That lull, that atmosphere is really lovely, but I felt like I needed more. Up until that point, all the songs were slow and everyone played and sang very safely in that space and I wondered if anything else was going to happen.
Ideally (for me at least), we’d all be in that serenity and then bits and pieces of songs would push us out of that space, where we would soar for just a bit and then drop us back down into that tranquility. The only way that happens for me, is if a musician (or musicians) get the heck out of their comfort zone. Speeding up the music, playing louder, vocalists hitting notes that they wouldn’t ordinarily; all these things work well if done at the right time in the song.
Finally, during Radiohead’s “High And Dry”, Erin Propp pushed the boundaries and yelled out “You’ll be the one screaming out”. And there it was. You could see it in the audience, everyone stirred in their seats because something was finally happening and we were out of our comfort zones for just a bit. Thank God for Erin Propp, she saved that song. Well done.
“Midnight In Harlem” made me nervous, because I REALLY like Tedeschi Trucks and I only want to hear covers of them if they’re spectacular. Plus, Susan Tedeschi has a wicked voice and up until that point, I wasn’t convinced Heitha Forsyth would be able to carry that tune. Keith played a great solo and then near the end, Heitha went for it and surprised me with the grit in her voice. Again, the crowd stirred, the song ended wonderfully, and the audience applauded and woo-hoo’d their appreciation. Deep sigh of relief from me. Way to go Heitha. Phew!
After intermission there were a couple songs by Beach House and Wilco, and then something super strange by Dirty Projectors called “Useful Chamber”. I’m listening to the original right now on You Tube because I honestly couldn’t believe it was an actual song. Sheena Rattai started the song and it just seemed to go all over the place. It was slow at one point, jolty and rockin’ the next and kind of hard to follow in general. Yeah…the original sounds all over the place too. Huge props to the ladies of the band for all that harmonizing during this tune. That was impressive.
Sufjan Stevens “Fourth Of July” was next, which is a song about the death of a Mother with lyrics like:
“The hospital asked should the body be cast / Before I say goodbye, my star in the sky / Such a funny thought to wrap you up in cloth / Do you find it all right, my dragonfly? “
Considering my own Father suddenly passed away five months ago, this was not my favourite song and I found it difficult and depressing to listen to.
The mood lightened with the next Sufjan Stevens song, “Chicago” with some nice harmonizing in that tune as well as the final tune, Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Color”.
There was no encore and no standing ovation – probably because we were all so snug in our seats.
I heard nothing but praise from the audience as I was leaving the theatre. While this wasn’t my favourite Keith Price performance, I did leave feeling better and more relaxed than when I came and I’m glad I went.
I’m curious to see what Keith Price does next.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters