This fall, Ana Popovic celebrates 20 years on the road. The Serbian blues artist from Belgrade went from a careeer as a graphic designer to a world touring musician. Having just played Homer Center for the Arts on Sunday October 24, much like Eric Gales the week prior, she paid homage to the Jimi Hendrix “electric church” style energy of the Center.
And filled with energy she did, having been a performer and on the board of the Experience Hendrix European tour for the past 6 years.
Needless to say, there is an immediate vibe when artists channel these blues sounds inside the 150 year old Baptist church turned music venue, especially on a Sunday. The band came in hot to Homer after a sold out two night run at Buffalo’s Tralf Music Hall. They call me the voodoo woman and I know the reason why…
Popovic’s band includes the brass section of Evan Knight on Saxophone and Pete Clagget on trumpet, plus Buthel Burns holding down backing vocals and bass. Special guest drummer for this tour was Christopher R Coleman of Beck’s band, who has been playing drums since he was 2 years old, sitting on his uncle’s knee in church. He traveled with his father and uncles who performed together in a gospel ensemble.
Coleman told NYS Music he felt right at home behind his kit at The Homer Center for the Arts. The two piece horn section & keyboards supplied the fuel to the bands groove on stage. The brass even made their way down the Homer Center aisles to join the crowd as part of the encore tune “Tribe.”
“Ana’s Shuffle” opened the performance, and the group plugged into the electric church spirits immediately for a cover of “Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me?,” by legendary blues man Albert King. All musicians on stage were of high quality caliber, each carefully listening and letting everyone breathe properly during their solos. Chris Coleman had a full three minute drum crescendo blast off to the second floor.
Ana Popovic and company paid homage to The Rolling Stones, currently on a national tour of America. Ana stepped out front like Mick Jagger for a cover of “Rain Fall Down” off their Bigger Bang album. Chris Coleman really showed why he backs Beck, one of the funkiest front men currently on tour like Jagger.
To keep the evening’s funk alive, they launched into Steely Dan’s “Night by Night.” The song title’s iconic lyrics mirrored off the stage: “Well I don’t really care, If it’s wrong or if it’s right, But until my ship comes in, I’ll live night by night.” Sunday night at the Center heated up during the 16-song set that had certain cuts off Ana’s 10 original studio albums.
“Lasting Kind of Love” and “I Like It on Top” from her 2018 album really set a fire to the setlist. Burns held down the bottom end on bass and soul backing vocals. Legendary producer Keb’ Mo’s funk driven influence was a stand out on these originals tracks live in concert. Ana jives on the tune “I like it on top every day of the week…I like it on top walking down the street.“
The band came full circle with the crowd by sending the brass to tune them up during the encore, a New Orleans style horn march back to the stage “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Popovic closed the night with a howling steel slide solo that sent the masses out wanting to change the world. ‘Funky Love’ is this band’s message, loud and clear. Following the show, Ana told NYS music as she enjoyed a glass of red wine after the gig “Yea the energy in here was incredible.” Watch the soulful finale in Homer below.
Ana Popovic – Center for the Arts, Homer, NY – Sunday, October 24, 2021
Setlist: Homer New York Intro Jam–>Anas Shuffle. Can you Stand the Heat, Object of Obsession, I’m Gonna Love You Tonight, Train, New Coat of Paint*, Can’t You See what You’re Doing To Me**, Rain Fell Down***, Last Thing I Do, Fencewalk****, Brand New Man, I Like It on Top, Lasting Kind of Love, You Can Count Me In
*Albert King Cover
**Tom Waits Cover
***Rolling Stones Cover
***Steely Dan Cover