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Published: 2014/02/02
by Stu Kelly

Tedeschi Trucks Band and The London Souls, Washington, D.C. Warner Theater- 1/25

The Tedeschi Trucks Band (who appear on the cover of the most current issue of Relix Magazine) concluded their U.S. winter tour with a triumphant return to the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., the same venue where the band recorded much of their live album Everybody’s Talkin’. The TTB returned with an arsenal of fresh material as they were touring in support of their sophomore studio release, Made Up Mind. The evening of music that unfolded was nothing short of captivating, as this 11-piece ensemble delivered the best quality of music, while still pushing the envelope of improvisation.

The night opened up with The London Souls, a powerhouse trio hailing from New York City. The London Souls possess a raw, rough, bluesy rock-and-roll sound that kept the audience involved and invested for the entirety of their set. The London Souls laid down some of their most recognizable staples from their self-titled album such as “Someday,” “Old Country Road,” “I Think I like It,” “Future Life” and “Stand Up.” The band was enjoying itself on stage and the crowd was soaking up their unique sound. The highlight from their set came when the group offered an interesting spin on The Beatles’ “Get Back,” a version in which they slowed down the time signature and really delivered this one with conviction. The band effortlessly infused contemporary psychedelia into the multi-layers and harmonies of The Beatles’ original, staying true to the foundation of the song but keeping it fresh with a unique twist. The band even took the time to meet fans and sign merch after their set in the grand foyer of the venue. The London Souls are a class act and are not a show to be missed.

After a quick set-change, the Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage to an adoring full house of fans. The band wasted no time opening up with the title track off their most recent album, Made Up Mind, where Susan Tedeschi added her sultry and elegant vocals to the number, pumping life into the music while lifting the energy of the room. The group was in complete control of the room as the crowd was up and out of their chairs dancing and flooding into the aisles. The beautiful thing about this band’s music is that it attracts diverse and open-minded listeners. Fans of all ages and backgrounds were seen at the show and everyone was in a good spirits. There was a strong sense of community and commitment between the band and the audience and the energy was evidently being passed back and forth.

Pushing on into their set, the TTB continued with their trajectory of interpreting their new catalog in a live setting. A smoking sequence unfolded that contained “Do I Look Worried” > “All That I Need.” A bit later they slammed into “Misunderstood,” which was brought to life by the soothing backing vocals of Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers. Both Mattison and Rivers harmonize beautifully with Tedeschi’s blues tone. Halfway through the song the band came to a halt in the music where Derek Trucks and Kofi Burbridge took turns to open it up and solo.

Susan went on to express how excited the band was to be back in Washington, D.C. She then introduced another new song from their new album, explaining that it was one of her favorites to sing and then dedicated it to all the ladies in the house, before the band went into “It’s So Heavy.” This gorgeous ballad that put the audience in a tranquil state of being, swaying back and forth completely surrendering themselves to the music. Derek opened up the first solo with a gentle touch that almost as if his Gibson SG had a voice of its own, humming the melody. Mike Mattison then moved to the front of the stage to anchor a nice version of “I Know,” originally recorded by the Derek Trucks Band for their album Already Free.

The band came to a pause to collect themselves and what happened next was easily the highlight of the evening. Out of nowhere they started a soft jam, which was led by Kofi on the clavinet. As the music started to build the percussionists found a groove and the rest of the group started to chime in when necessary. The horn section found their fills as Derek and Susan started kept a rhythm. The improvisation started to build and right before it broke off, the band then went into “Love Has Something Else to Say,” which whiplashed the crowd into a dancing sea. Tim Lefebvre stepped up and took a nice bass solo before Saunders Sermons flexed his range on the trombone. This entire sequence clocked in at just under 18 minutes and when it was all over the band was in all smiles on stage, as if they too were amazed by the magic that unfolded.

“The Sky is Crying” was perfectly placed next and the crowd was in full swing. Elmore James originally recorded this quintessential blues number back in 1959, in Chicago. This song was also skyrocketed to mainstream attention with Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn both adding the cover to their live repertoires, so it was nice to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band add their unique blues twist on such a classic and keep the spirit of the song alive. Susan’s voice was electric as she led the charge through this number.

“Don’t Miss Me” was the second track from Already Free that the band dipped into that night, another energetic and up-beat song showcasing Mike Mattison’s vocal lead. “Part of Me,” > “Midnight in Harlem,” > “Living in the Palace of the King” then kept the energy at a soaring peak. The band closed out their set with “Bound For Glory,” a crowd-favorite from their debut album. After a quick encore break, the TTB returned to the stage with Ron Holloway, a longtime friend of the group and a local from Takoma Park, Maryland, to add his rich tenor-saxophone chops to “Space Captain.” The band finished the show with a roaring version of “The Storm,” leaving the crowd more than satisfied and capping off a wonderful evening of music.

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