Before we get to the Brothers Bacon though there was the mystery of opening act Vance Gilbert. Gilbert was a twangy-blues laden singer songwriter. He actually called himself “The Black Folk Star of Love.” His short set might have been okay if he were the attraction. Maybe such macabre, heartbroken musings such as his would have been more appropriate for an engagement at a coffee house or something. But as an “opening act” for a group as full of verve and energy as the Bacon Brothers, it would have stood to reason that Gilbert would have played some more upbeat songs.
Forgetting the topics of his set for just a moment; Gilbert had a glaring self-awareness and a corny disposition coupled with a sharp wit which at times elicited laughter.
“You’re so old,” he joked to one audience member, “you’ve got a signed copy of the Bible!”
His songs though were very intentionally oppressive and languid. Despite this fact Gilbert had a fierce set of lungs on him which oscillated between a practiced John Denver high to an extended Herman’s Hermits vibrato.
Still, I go to the audience for the most fun quote of the night. One of the individuals sitting nearby me, who had even appeared to enjoy portions of the opener remarked, as Gilbert was exiting the stage:
“For most of that performance, I wanted to stick something in my eye.”
|Bacon Brothers. City Winery, New York City. 4/26/12.|
The first two songs were sung by Michael and Kevin simply sang backup vocals, strummed along as a second rhythm guitar, and played some very insignificant conga lines. When I pointed out to my wife that you didn’t even really hear the conga, she remarked that it's attributable to the fact that Kevin’s an actor. Actors onstage (or onscreen) should always have some kind of an action for their hands. I couldn’t disagree with her.
By the third tune though, a song Kevin dubbed “the iPod song” he had earned his place onstage. Just before breaking it down Kevin took his audience on a funkdafied history of what it was like when he first came to New York City in 1976. He danced and cavorted to the tight funk line the song was electric.
All the musicians onstage appeared to be effortlessly competent at their instruments. The bass player slid all over his fret board while singing harmony and doing something of a queer crouching crab step. The lead guitar player and organ player both cut out nice solo lines when they were called on to do so. The drummer also had no problem tearing up the skins a little bit like Animal from the Muppets.
I wasn’t able to stay for the whole evening but from what I saw of the Bacon Brothers, they are a group worthy of your attention. A lot of times famous actors get a hard time when they just want to play in a band. But Kevin Bacon rips that stigma out and chucks it to the side. He just appears to be having a great time with his big brother, playing the music that’s had him dancing inside his head for all these years.