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« Preview: Mission of Burma @ Lincoln Hall, 9/29/12 Review: Prince @ United Center, 9/24/12 »

Review Mon Sep 24 2012

Review: Bobby Womack @ Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements, 9/23/12

Bobby Womack (photos by Josh Mellin)

Bobby Womack knows how to please a crowd. Sunday's finale at Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements was hit after hit after hit of R&B and soul. The rapturous crowd ate it up and loved every minute. Womack came out swinging immediately with "Across 110th Street", moved along to "Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out" and capped off the 1973 trifecta with "Harry Hippie." The cheers for each were more thunderous than the last. Decked out in a red suit, black t-shirt, field cap and sunglasses, the 68-year old owned the Riverfront for 70 minutes. He schmoozed with the crowd, shook hands and was in control.

Over the last couple years, Womack's battled pneumonia and colon cancer. Seeing him perform hammers home luck and determination. Anyone who's been through what he has probably doesn't take their days (and success) for granted. Seeing a few thousand people lose their mind to his music must provide seem ease and satisfaction. The set list was essentially a best-of and clearly for the fans, whether new or old. Last week at shows in New York, Womack reeled off tracks from his new album, The Bravest Man in the Universe. Yet there was nary a mention of it on Sunday in favor of the classics. Whether it was a song from his first band the Valentinos ("Lookin' for a Love"), a '70s smash ("Woman's Gotta Have It") or a later hit ("If You Think You're Lonely Now"), opening notes created hysteria. A woman in front of me flung her hands up in delight once she recognized a tune (usually within ten seconds, even when the band toyed with an arrangement) while the man next to her stomped on the floorboards. Similar scenes were repeated all through the seating area.

Bobby Womack (photos by Josh Mellin)

Toward the end, Womack sat and briefly chatted about Sam Cooke's hand in his career. It may have been pandering to a Chicago crowd, but following it up with a cover of Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" put it in perspective. While it didn't garner the biggest cheers of the night, it was likely the biggest surprise. Backed by a tight band and in front of an enthusiastic crowd, Womack delivered the hits and gave people just what they came to hear.

Helado Negro (photos by Josh Mellin)

Helado Negro opened with a set of his ambient/electronic music punctuated by Spanish vocals. The Brooklyn-based musician had just a keyboard and his voice. Perhaps a little nervous about opening for Bobby Womack, he got off to a rough start and had little command on the crowd. Most of the audience was half-interested, at best, during his half-hour and spent it conversing since it does operate as nice background music. Midway through, he broke from the calming ambiance with some energy and a little Latin music influence in a few tunes that got him a few more ears. But he never really got rolling, even though it all did sound very nice.

Helado Negro (photos by Josh Mellin)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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