I’ll be honest. I totally judged this guy before hearing a single note. Seriously, look at him:
He looks like Napoleon Dynamite, raised on an Amish farm and gone hipster during Rumshpringa. I’m not terribly fond of the hipster movement, so anyone that shows up in glasses that look like something my little sister wore in 1983, automatically has an uphill climb with me. (Pretty ironic considering that I dress like a circus sideshow. ) I was certain that the next 2 hours (hopefully only 70 min, if we are lucky), would be like fingernails on a chalkboard.
A modest crowd energetically swelled with cheers when the lights dimmed.
The bass player walked out, strapped on a 4 string, and started plunking a simple line. From the first note, I started smiling. The next 5 notes from the bass player made it clear to me that I was wildly mistaken about the goofy looking guy that was about to hit the stage.
The guitarist and drummer came out on stage. They proceeded to climb deep into the pocket and did not leave for the next 2 hours. Soon the hammond B-3 was manned. Lastly, the other keyboard player came on stage, took the mic, and roused the crowd to welcome Allen Stone.
As he took his seat, Allen came bounding onto the stage, launching the band into a couple of numbers that pulled from soul, R&B, and a bit of rock at times. He started singing and bestowed the revelation on all of us: Allen must be the reincarnated spirit of a would-have-been legendary soul singer from the 70’s that was given a second chance at glory. Stone is making very, very good on that chance.
Allen Stone ministered to that crowd with an evangelistic zeal that can only come from someone who is positive he’s found the truth. This pastor preached the gospel of smiling and dancing like a fool. Or a pro. Standing still was his only “thou shalt not”… but even then, his punishment for such a transgression was to bellow out even more tunes that were very hard to hold still around.
A great cover tune is one of the hallmarks of a true artist, because it forces one to express one’s self on the canvas of a song that everyone knows. Allen Stone and band completely owned “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan. (written by Stevie Wonder, but made famous by Khan), and then reinvented Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”.
It does not matter what kind of music you think you like – you WILL have fun at an Allen Stone show. Next time he’s in your town, bring a fun date, and Allen Stone will make sure that you’ll walk away with fantastic memories.
See the rest of the concert photos here: http://www.paulduanephoto.com/2012/11/allen-stone-concert/