REVIEW of the Black Dub Show at Spaceland, Silverlake--last Sat. night 2/13
A soulful backyard garden of sounds that defied stereotype, last Saturday night’s Black Dub show at Spaceland in Silverlake surprised and delighted those of us lucky enough to be in the audience. Legendary producer Daniel Lanois’ latest project, Black Dub is just starting out on its debut tour after recording. The band blends Trixie Whitley’s gut-punching vocals (gut-punching in the most beautiful way possible) with Lanois’s grittier classic rock harmonies, tempered by the sweetest drumming and bass-lines that only two true-blue Southerners could conjure: Brian Blade and Daryl Johnson from Shreveport, LA and Memphis, TN respectively.
The band played such a tasty, well-timed set that I completely forgot all reference to time and space, and the crowd was so unanimously transported that the good vibes spread to even the most cynical LA hipster, and everyone swayed along all the way through the encore. Because each song was so artfully placed in connection to the others, creating that sustained music-induced euphoria every performer strives for, it is difficult to single out any one highlight from among the general high of the concert as a whole. But if I had to choose a moment of concentrated soul-love, it would be during Lanois’ and Whitley’s stark, haunting harmonies in the chorus to “Silverado.” If those two could do their singing from the mountaintop setting the lyrics invoke, the emotion they push into every note during that song would be enough to send a rocky avalanche sliding down from the San Gabrielles, and probably set off the big San Andreas earthquake everyone’s predicting. It was raw musical power.
The night ended with a slow acoustic build beginning with Lanois and climbing to the perfected synergy this newly-formed group has so rapidly achieved. They left us wanting more. Which is high praise from one such as I who is not so big on the typical ego-massaging encores squeezed out by so many songwriting bands playing smallish venues around town. The set was like a summer rainstorm in the Southern regions that inspire so much of Lanois’ music: it began with a few gentle drops, slowly gaining force and volume for about an hour’s worth of refreshment, then, before our boots had time to get soggy—it petered back to a gentle sprinkle of acoustic showers, sending us all off to bed with gentle dripping resonating in our ears.
The Rocking Horse gives this show a 5 o’clock shadow for rustic charm, a crisp dill pickle for satisfaction, and a shining silver horse-shoe for gut impact. And while we’re at it, “Spaceland” gets our Flying Saucer Award for classy ticket-sale limitation—you just can’t pack ‘em in like sardines and expect musical magic. Thanks for the space to dance “SPACE” land! HA.