Monday, December 05, 2011

Saturday Night Becomes Eclectic at the Orpheum

(Photo by Jeremiah Garcia for KCRW.)

I dare you not to get goosebumps when Jimmy Cliff belts out "Many Rivers to Cross." The reggae legend, still vibrant and spry at 63, brought down the house on Saturday night during KCRW's "Are Friends Eclectic?" concert (a holiday benefit for the public radio station).

Dressed in a shiny silver outfit, Cliff also finally got the Orpheum Theatre crowd on its feet with his signature track "The Harder They Come." And at the end of the evening, he joined the night's other headliner, Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, on stage.

It was an evening that lived up to its name. The eclectic pack of artists all impressed, but I was particularly wowed by Stillwater, Oklahoma, band Other Lives. The band, which boasts an unconventional mix of instrumentation and an ethereal rock sound that will make a perfect fit with Radiohead when it opens for that legendary band next year.

Other favorites included L.A.-based Belle Brigade, whose harmony we've appreciated this year, including the track "Sweet Louise" (the song featuring the lyric "I just fell in love"). Rockers White Denim performed another Franklin Avenue favorite from the past year, "Street Joy." And Zee Avi, who traveled over three days from Borneo in order to attend the concert, wowed the crowd with her cover of Morrissey's "First of the Gang to Die." (She also amused by adding a few verses of "Pumped Up Kicks" into a song.)

Most of the artists on stage made sure to thank KCRW for playing their music. "We've never been a band that has gotten airplay anywhere but they continue to play our music," said Other Lives' lead singer.

Food at the KCRW pre-party was catered by the station's "Good Food" and Evan Kleiman, and included items such as a tomato tart (one of our faves), a nutella empanada and a Shepherds pie. Father's Office supplied the cocktails (including a delicious Old Fashioned, and a hefty selection of craft beers), Isabella's Cookie Co. provided bite-size gourmet cooks and the Malibu Family Wines provided a good Cabernet.

Some pics:

(Photo by Jeremiah Garcia for KCRW.)

(Photo by Jeremiah Garcia for KCRW.)

KCRW Are Friends Eclectic?

KCRW Are Friends Eclectic?

KCRW Are Friends Eclectic?

Read KCRW's recap here. Thanks to the station for a great musical evening.

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