- Josh Bis
Maybe the best part of seeing Jamie Lidell twice in one day, early in the evening at Bumbershoot and then later last night at the Crocodile, is that you get to see him in two different outfits. At Bumbershoot, the affable, oddball British soul singer wore over his jacket what looked like a macrame shawl, dedicating the song "A Little Bit More," sympathetically, to "anyone who wears dangerous knitwear in a crowd." That song is the only one that Lidell does in his old solo style, building the track loop by loop, layer by layer, beatboxing out a rhythm, humming a bass line, feeding vocal parts through some hardware loop station into a big mixer from which he could then fade "instruments" in and out. No disrespect to his talented band, but it is such a joy to watch just Lidell up there doing his inimitable thing. Dude has that breath control: part way through the song, after an intro of delayed, rising Lidell phantom voices, when it was time to kick things up a bit, he casually added a little lisp to the edges of his kick drum sound, shifting it from clean to farting "distorted"—a little thing, but still impressive to notice.
About the band, this time out, it was a six-piece including the singer, featuring dual drummers, an analog synth/keyboard player with the exact same haircut as LCD Soundsystem analog synth expert Gavin Russom, and a laptop supplanted the old double-sax player (which made it look kind of weird when a ripping, Morphine-y brass solo erupted literally out of nowhere on one song). Still, fun as it is to see Lidell doing his solo thing, the band were super solid, and the keyboardist especially looked like he was having a blast, which is always nice to see. Lidell dedicated "Enough's Enough" to "anyone who should know better, who's talking to their girlfriend, 'yeah, baby, yeah,' and [mimes a wandering gaze] looking at someone else's buttocks." I would seriously just watch this guy host a talk show; he's already got the banter down with this keyboardist.
So, later at the Croc, the same band set up smooshed onto a much smaller stage, with Lidell decked out in a (I heard YSL) suit jacket shredded up so that it was fitted on top and devolved into strips of fringe toward the bottom. The band sounded ace in the smaller room, the energy was high, and it was way easier to feel it all up close. Still, I was feeling pretty rinsed out, so I split after a few more songs.