Blinding Flashes of Light (and John Common)
Backed by staggeringly talented multi-instrumentalist Wes Michaels, gracefully restrained drummer Carl Sorensen, deft key-tickler Jon Wirtz, ubiquitous bassist Jimmy Stofer and smoldering vocalist Jess De Nicola, Common sounds better than ever. The band is able to groove on jazzy numbers, jam on rockers and twang out for country-flavored ditties, all while preserving the sense of sincerity and humor that characterize all of Common's live performances.
Though Common occasionally leans a little too far toward well-worn cliches of earnest heartache for my taste, when his well-calibrated songwriting bat really connects with the ball, he easily knocks it out of the park. I heard some great tunes last night -- honest, aching, beautiful, rousing songs, made even better by the sextet's solid arrangements and engaging performances. I'm very much looking forward to catching John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light on February 20, especially with Achille Lauro and Ellison Park opening.
And, yes, there'll be kazoos, too.