War Revives its Old-School Funk Hits Along with a Few Classics at Yoshi's
|War at Yoshi's last night.|
How well performer or act bears the ravages of time seems to be inversely related to how deadly serious it took itself in the first place. The reception given a beloved dotard like Lou Reed is rather less self-conscious than that accorded a bloated K.C. still chirping with the Sunshine Band, so it shouldn't be surprising if one enjoys the former less as an experience. In the case of War, the 1970s L.A. sunshine-funk agglomeration, the goodtime vibes their memory evokes were enough to disarm expectations. Singer/keyboardist Lonnie Jordan, the sole original member, is well past sixty, most of the rest of the seven-piece band didn't look that much younger, and neither did a lot of the crowd already at Yoshi's when the band unlimbered at eight on the dot.
Jordan wrestled intermittently with "organ problems" as Viagra quips abounded. His rap leading into a chilly run at "Me & Baby Brother" came just short of calling the endless war in Afghanistan "unnecessary," but American entertainers just don't say things like that any more. The audience-participation vocals on "The Cisco Kid" were a hoot, and the long bravura run at "Ballero" was for me the high point -- one of those gorgeous extras a life of concert-going periodically pours into your ears.
Random notebook dump No. 1: If L.A. knew itself at all, 'The World Is a Ghetto' would rank right alongside 'Wouldn't It Be Nice.'
Random notebook dump No. 2: I can't believe they actually did "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
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