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Jamie Lidell & the Royal Pharaohs :: The Echo

September 14, 2016
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On Tuesday night at The Echo, English pop-funk experimenter Jamie Lidell graced the stage backed by septet the Royal Pharaohs. While probably best known as EDM-meets-funk groover in his band Super Collider, Lidell’s own material is a fusion of styles and genres, but seemingly rooted in influence by Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Jamiroquai.

When he took the exceptionally cramped stage at the Echo, he came out running and into “Multiply” from his 2005 release. Jamie Lidell’s knack for soulful grooves and history with electronic synth-pop paved way for a eclectic dance party, and every one in the room seemed to appreciate the delicate balancing act Lidell performs to tweak his genres to his liking. He belted with a true soulful might and when connecting with his band, it felt like a sophisticated and busy jam session.

Performing several numbers from his seventh studio album to be released this October, including the powerful title track “Building A Beginning” and “Julian” (named after his new son), Lidell energetically serenaded his audience into an ’80s-pop dance-trance. Unlike his previous albums which weren’t heavy with collaborators other than Lidell’s machines, “Building A Beginning” features a hefty carousel of session musicians: Pino Palladino (John Mayer, the Who), Pat Sansone (Wilco), Daryl Jones (Jack White), Chaka Khan’s backing singers, Amy Winehouse’s keyboard player, as well as production and co-writing by Justin Stanley, known for his work with Prince and Beck.

If the vibe onstage at the Echo was anything to go by, it would seem evident that Lidell is really enjoying being surrounded by seasoned musicians. He moved and gestured passionately, occasionally singing into two mics at once and took a stance at the stage edge just long enough for people to raise their phones before retreating back to his 2-square-feet of space. Lidell doesn’t fit very neatly in any one musical category or very neatly on such a small stage. He introduced “Me and You” noting that the lyrics were written by his wife and then closed the main set with 2005’s neo-psych-pop track “When I Come Back Around.”

Shot for The Echo

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