LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends
Sat., May 2, 2015
Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Seattle, WA

If there's anything that my better half and I like to do at any given moment, that would be to see  LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends perform. Upon hearing that they will be doing a rare acoustic show, well...gotta go!

The show's setting was at Seattle's Fremont Abbey, a "beautiful 100 year old brick church building (formerly St. Paul's Lutheran)" that had been restored and renovated into an arts center. The staging was intimate, with maybe 100 other "friends" in attendance, chairs in rows that circled the stage. We had 2nd row reserved, but I think any seat would have been nice in what LeRoy called his living room.

Having seen LeRoy & Co. many times in the 5 years we've been coming to his shows, we knew what to expect, as far as performance & song selection, but we had never seen an acoustic show. Having five albums to choose from, the setlist for this performance could be...anything, including some new material.

LeRoy started the set off solo, performing three tunes while interacting with the audience. The intimate and enduring "Mama Said" and "Live On Love" were followed by "20 Years From Now" (a rare track from "Two Sides to Every Story"). The reception was warm and LeRoy's appreciation was genuine. 

LeRoy was then joined by his Only Friends, whom had been in a room off to the side -- he joked, "Oh, there you are! I thought you forgot about me..." Keyboardist (and occasional accordion hipster) Daniel Walker , drummer (w/ set and drum box) Davis Martin and bassist (with a rather cool acoustic bass!) Terry Morgan stayed throughout the rest of the evening, starting with "Everything About You,"  followed by classics and new classics. At one point in the show, apparently Davis "didn't get the memo" about a song being dropped and the rest of the band was waiting for him to count the next song off; this resulted in what was rather funny (and if recorded, would require a couple retakes!). After the memo crack from LeRoy, Davis stood to count off, "One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two..." resulting in a meltdown of laughter from all in the room -- especially those on stage! 

The evening was short, by regular concert standards (just over 1 1/2 hours), but was highlighted by...an awesome setlist! (As follows:)

Mama Said
Live on Love
20 Years From Now

(With His Only Friends:)
Everything About You
Can't Run Back to Me
Wind Me Up
Divine Intervention
Father to Son
One More Chance
You Won't See Me (New!)
Wouldn't It Be Heaven
Still Not Over You
How Many Times

and was closed with (probably his most notable song)...
A Change Is Coming, complete with audience participation.

(I have the setlist, complete with omitted songs...Voodoo? Everybody? 21st Century Man? and others???)

LeRoy & Co. stuck around, talked with fans and other friends, and made new friends. While I'm sure there were many wanting to get up & dance, the intimate show was a nice change -- and one I wouldn't mind seeing again.

For show listings and more, go to their website: LeRoyBell.com

Keep On Groovin' On,

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    TSSutherland is a lover of music that thumps, bumps, rocks & wails! An avid believer in supporting local arts, this page will feature reviews of NW Blues, Rock & Funk.


    January 2014