The eight-piece powerhouse that is St. Paul & The Broken Bones took the stage at The Egg in Albany on Sunday, March 5 in classic soul – R&B fashion, with the lights dimmed and front man Paul Janeway cloaked in a cape. As the sound of “Crumbling Light Posts, Part 1” built to a crescendo, he shed the cape as the band exploded into their next number, in which Janeway sang “Just flow with it.” It was good advice. Janeway and the Broken Bones took the audience on quite a journey, from funk to earth shaking shouts to heartbreaking soul music, changing tempo and dynamics while the attendees’ enthusiasm continued to build. The group consists of Chad Fisher on trombone, Allen Branstetter on trumpet, Jason Mingledorff on saxophone and flute, drummer Andrew Lee, bassist Jesse Phillips, guitarist Browan Lollar, and Al Gamble on organ and piano, with Paul Janeway on lead vocals. A consummate showman clad in a leopard print jacket and pants with gold shoes, Janeway pulled out all the stops, dropping to his knees, rolling on the floor, shimmying and sliding all over the stage, and doing a crowd walk halfway up and across the theater during the emotionally wrenching “Broken Bones and Pocket Change.” The band changed gears once again, following up with the crowd singing and dancing to “Call Me.” The bulk of the set was from 2016’s Sea of Noise, but there were a few remarkable cover songs. During the encore, a fan called out for some Otis Redding. Janeway responded that the band hadn’t played the song yet on this tour, but led them into a showstopping rendition of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” Despite over ninety minutes of music and a four song encore, St. Paul & The Broken Bones adhered to one more bit of showmanship – always leave the audience wanting more.
Opening act Aaron Lee Tasjan captured the audience’s attention before he even played a note, taking the stage bedecked in a black and white star-spangled suit, silver boots, and a wide brimmed cowboy hat. He led his trio through an eight song set peppered with humor and story telling between songs. The songs were from his 2016 album Silver Tears, released on the New West Records label. Describing him as alt-country, or folk rock with a gritty undertone, doesn’t completely tell the story. Some songs, including “Little Movies” had an ethereal Brian Ferry / Electric Light Orchestra vibe, and Tasjan certainly showed his considerable guitar skills on “Ready to Die” and also when he was invited onstage for an encore with the headliners for a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” You should put both of these acts on your list of artists to listen to and go see live.
Aaron Lee Tasjan: Out of My Mind, Little Movies, Memphis Rain, Lucinda’s Room, 12 Bar Blues, Where the Road Begins and Ends, Ready to Die, Success
St. Paul & The Broken Bones: Crumbling Light Posts, Pt. 1, Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like), Like a Mighty River, I’ll Be Your Woman, Tears in the Diamond, All I Ever Wonder, I’m Torn Up, Unknown (band instrumental), Brain Matter, Waves, Midnight on the Earth, I’ve Been Working (Van Morrison cover), Broken Bones & Pocket Change, Call Me, Sanctify
Encore: Is It Me?, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Otis Redding cover), Moonage Daydream (David Bowie cover, joined by Aaron Lee Tasjan), Burning Rome