Do you remember the hit, Joey by Concrete Blonde? Last night, the Los Angeles-based alternative act from the 80’s, made an appearance at Austin’s newest venue, Emo’s East. The amazing thing about their leader and vocalist, Johnette Napolitano is she still has the same sultry, smoky voice she did over 20 years ago. In fact, last year was the 20th anniversary of the release of their most successful album, Bloodletting that prompted the current tour and revitalization.
At Emo’s East last night, the band performed their pennultimate hit early in the set as if to get the chore out of the way before digging into more recent material. The small, but enthusiastic crowd cheered every song. We liked the Midnight Oil cover, “Beds Are Burning” which our friend, April characterized as the “metal version”. We cannot think of a more apt description of the song.
Officially, Concrete Blonde disbanded in 1993 and reformed a few times since. Most notably, on the re-release of Bloodletting last year which opened the door for more tour dates for the band in future because it went so well. In an interview with the Houston Press, Napolitano talked about selecting songs for the tour last year,
“It was really different than any other tour we’d done, because we weren’t out there to sell records, you know, because people already knew it, it was easy. We’d actually gone to YouTube to see what to play. What do people know? Because we really didn’t know, it’s been such a long time, do you know what I mean? So it was really fun and it wasn’t like the old days when it felt like so much pressure.” ~ Johnette Napolitano to Houston Press
As it was our first visit to Emo’s newest venture, we noted the fine features of the venue. Particularly impressive was the glassed-in outdoor patio that affords a view of the stage while patrons are having a smoke. The sound and lights were first rate, no expense was spared here, down to the proper acoustical material to absorb sound inside the cavernous space. There were several bars to serve customers and even a couple sets of bleachers along the back wall just like at the original venue. Emo’s did an excellent job of making the brand new venue feel like Emo’s of old.
Texas music fans should be pleased with the current tour as it only allows for dates inside the state. Napolitano explained that at this point in her career, that is about a long as she wants to be on the road. Napolitano has been successful getting her music into films and television and occationally writes music for film. The group appeared on KTFW-TV Dallas this morning.
Concrete Blonde’s remaining tour dates:
OCT. 28 THE GRANADA – DALLAS, TEXAS
OCT. 30 FITZGERALD’S – HOUSTON, TEXAS
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