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Posted: April 08, 2009

The Boss rocks the Pepsi Center, plus the retro soul of John Németh

E Street Band returns to Denver, R&B singer Németh hits Colorado for four shows

Mike Cote

So what’s a guy pushing 60 doing sliding across the stage and crashing into the camera on purpose during the Super Bowl? Bruce Springsteen is getting older – two of his fellow band members have had hip replacements -- but he’s still daring to get physical as he holds court as rock’s reigning rock ’n’ roll evangelist.

The Boss skipped Denver during tours for The Seeger Sessions and Magic so he and the E Street Band built up a lot of demand in the meantime, leading to an instant sellout for Friday’s show at the Pepsi Center to promote Working on a Dream. (Check Ticketmaster for last-minute seat openings.)

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Reviews for the new disc have ranged from five star raves (Rolling Stone) to lukewarm three star nods (Spin) that take New Jersey’s favorite son to task for rather lightweight lyrics on some tracks (such as “Surprise” with its “surprise, surprise, open up your eyes” chorus). Working on a Dream does have some Springsteen-lite moments – but songs like the title track, the greasy blues rocker “The Eye” and the stark theme from “The Wrestler” should stand up as classics years long after Springsteen’s knees give up on him.

A band considered to be the next generation carrying the flag for passionate rock ’n’ roll also is sold out Friday. Good luck trying to score tickets to see the Hold Steady on Friday at the Fox Theater in Boulder. (Favorite song: "Sequested in Memphis." Hunt it down lawyer friends.)

John Németh delivers retro soul to Colorado

Here’s a show that won't cost you $100 a ticket, and you have four chances to see next week. Singer and harmonica player John Németh writes and performs songs rooted in retro R&B, soul and blues, and has a versatile voice that can get inside the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances of each genre.

Touring behind his second album Love Me Tonight for San Francisco’s Blind Pig label, Németh hits Colorado next week for shows at the Boulder Outlook Hotel (Thursday), Smokin’ Moe’s in Winter Park (Friday), Oskar Blues in Lyons (Saturday) and The Little Bear in Evergreen (Saturday.)

Think classic Stax artists like Sam & Dave and fellow contemporary singers like Curtis Salgado and Kim Wilson. Spotlight tracks from Love Me Tonight: the harmonica-laced soul of “Fuel For Your Fire” and the dirty blues of “Daughter of the Devil.”

From the Music Box:

GOMEZ A New Tide (ATO Records)

British band Gomez kicked around for nearly a decade before rising above cult status with 2006's How We Operate, thanks to heavy radio airplay of the somber title track and the more light-hearted second single "See the World." With A New Tide, the hard-to-classify  roots rockers deliver one of those albums that takes a few spins to reveal its varied moods and shadings. Not until the seventh track, when the heavy guitar hook of hard-rocking "Airstream Driver" comes crashing in, do you hear an obvious radio track that will get stuck in your brain. Ditto for the very next track, "Natural Reaction," a lyrically dense ballad that recalls "How We Operate." But Gomez has never been a band to get stuck in the same groove. And that's a good thing.

BODEANS Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams: Collector's Edition  (Slash/Warner Bros.)

The BoDeans came of age when upstarts like Los Lobos and the Blasters were reviving straightforward rock 'n' roll. This reissue of the Midwest band's 1986 debut underscores how it was entrenched in the same camp, turning out high-energy gems like "She's a Runaway" and "Fadeaway" that featured the vocal harmonies of singer/guitarists Kurt Neumann and Sammy Llanas. Some of the demos included as bonus cuts ultimately didn't make the album, but they were part of the band's live set, and a 17-track DVD of a 1985 Minneapolis performance offers evidence.

The filming is bare bones, but it captures the band several months before its big-label debut dropped. And you can feel the passion of a young band finding its voice on the blues rocker "Misery," featuring the high-pitch lead vocal of Llanas (remember his from-the-swamp backup vocal on Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down the Crazy River"?). Meanwhile, Neumann, who shares lead vocal duties with Lllanas, delivered plenty of muscular lead guitar playing.

 

 

 

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Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at mcote@cobizmag.com.

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