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BoDeans, Knight give lessons in Americana/country

House of Blues, Hollywood, Cal., Sept. 10, 1998

By Dan MacIntosh

HOLLYWOOD, CAL. - Monitors colorfully beamed the MTV Video Music Awards throughout the club, filling it with silent images of fashion criminals and flavor-of-the-month rock artists. But on stage, the timeless sounds of American roots music courtesy of The BoDeans and Chris Knight, became the unlikely soundtrack to this odd musical juxtaposition.

The BoDeans roots rock roots are spread across a variety of musical grounds. From the traditional country found in the opener "Lookinı For Me Somewhere" to the Stones-y rock groove of "Sylvia," the band easily covers a good chunk of territory.

Guitarists Sammy Lianas and Kurt Neumann alternate on lead vocals, and sometimes join together for sweet-and sometimes almost brotherly-harmonies. Since 1986, this group has been sticking to its artistic guns, and the sparse crowd in the House showed its appreciation by singing along loudly with hits like "Fadeaway" and even hopping up and down on some of the more bouncy tunes.

After all these years, youıd expect a hard working band, such as this one from Waukesha, Wis., to be playing in slightly larger venues than the cozy House of Blues. But if the band feels any bitterness about its bottom rung on the rock & roll latter of success, such feelings certainly didnıt appear in the music.

Touring off his Decca debut, Chris Knight opened, armed only with an acoustic guitar, and a second acoustic guitarist as his accompanist.

Unfortunately, the crowd was revved up to party with the BoDeans, and it was much too loud and talkative to hear the clever wordplay of Knightıs songs. In fact, when he chose to speak between selections, he almost had to yell his song introductions.

Nevertheless, from the appropriately named opener "It Ainıt Easy Being Me" to an unrecorded set closer about a small town murder, Knight stayed in good spirits, and almost seemed to be enjoying the challenge.

Video may have killed the radio star, as the old '80's song once mourned, but it certainly hasnıt made a dent in the power of live music. This night was filled with great aural treats for the ears of those who may be suffering with tired TV eyes.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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