Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones (El Rey Theater; 900 capacity; $ 20) Presented by Bill Silva Presents. Band: Jones, Robert Devery, Kendell Kaye, Michael Alejandro, Rick Boston. Reviewed July 9, 1997. Were Rickie Lee Jones' latest effort disappointing or even misguided, Wednesday's freefall into indecipherable electronic gibberish might, at the least, be forgivable as an experiment gone awry. But the singer's latest Reprise effort, "Ghostyhead," is an invigorating marriage of electronica and heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting, two facets buried far too deep in the mix of this unit's murky performance. Some fault lies in the rough p.a. reproduction --- at times it felt like 10 minutes had passed and nary a word Jones sang could be understood. Too, her voice was treated with none of the delicacy of her recordings or even previous local performances; the barrage of her band of guitar, standup bass, drums and electronics forced her into a shrillness that was neither on key nor effective. Jones' latest works, an admirable divergence from her folk-pop roots, were turned into a heady broth of hip-hop beats and grunge-rock tricks. She hid (literally because of the lack of a spotlight) within the rhythmic mishmosh and shared little of her beautiful melodic sensibilities, a key ingredient on the disc of lengthy tunes and precise articulation. Here, a constant, strident bassline from Michael Alejandro guided her among the brash and bloated affectations, the ebb and flow of her voice often being the lone instrument even implying melody or tunefulness. Rarely did she venture anywhere near her trademark tenderness. Near the end of the two-hour affair, Jones turned softer and was instantly more effective. Sparse accompaniment treats her far better than a skewed Bo Diddley beat, a Pearl Jam shuffle or the sort of pretentious art-rock that had its brief shining moment with Dagmar Krause and the Art Bears. Like a pretty girl dressing down to hide her attractiveness, Jones worked against form and turned off close to one-third of her audience, which had hit the exits before the encores. A backdrop of a collection of writings on looseleaf paper looked good but lacked any connection to the music. There's a better way to present this music, which "Ghostyhead" clearly bears out. Co-producer Rick Boston is in the band providing the keyboards, samples and electronic what-nots and between the two of them, some refinement should be considered.

With:
Band: Jones, Robert Devery, Kendell Kaye, Michael Alejandro, Rick Boston.

Rickie Lee Jones (El Rey Theater; 900 capacity; $ 20) Presented by Bill Silva Presents. Band: Jones, Robert Devery, Kendell Kaye, Michael Alejandro, Rick Boston. Reviewed July 9, 1997. Were Rickie Lee Jones’ latest effort disappointing or even misguided, Wednesday’s freefall into indecipherable electronic gibberish might, at the least, be forgivable as an experiment gone awry. But the singer’s latest Reprise effort, “Ghostyhead,” is an invigorating marriage of electronica and heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting, two facets buried far too deep in the mix of this unit’s murky performance. Some fault lies in the rough p.a. reproduction — at times it felt like 10 minutes had passed and nary a word Jones sang could be understood. Too, her voice was treated with none of the delicacy of her recordings or even previous local performances; the barrage of her band of guitar, standup bass, drums and electronics forced her into a shrillness that was neither on key nor effective. Jones’ latest works, an admirable divergence from her folk-pop roots, were turned into a heady broth of hip-hop beats and grunge-rock tricks. She hid (literally because of the lack of a spotlight) within the rhythmic mishmosh and shared little of her beautiful melodic sensibilities, a key ingredient on the disc of lengthy tunes and precise articulation. Here, a constant, strident bassline from Michael Alejandro guided her among the brash and bloated affectations, the ebb and flow of her voice often being the lone instrument even implying melody or tunefulness. Rarely did she venture anywhere near her trademark tenderness. Near the end of the two-hour affair, Jones turned softer and was instantly more effective. Sparse accompaniment treats her far better than a skewed Bo Diddley beat, a Pearl Jam shuffle or the sort of pretentious art-rock that had its brief shining moment with Dagmar Krause and the Art Bears. Like a pretty girl dressing down to hide her attractiveness, Jones worked against form and turned off close to one-third of her audience, which had hit the exits before the encores. A backdrop of a collection of writings on looseleaf paper looked good but lacked any connection to the music. There’s a better way to present this music, which “Ghostyhead” clearly bears out. Co-producer Rick Boston is in the band providing the keyboards, samples and electronic what-nots and between the two of them, some refinement should be considered.

Rickie Lee Jones

Reviewed July 9, 1997 - El Rey Theater; 900 capacity; $20

Production: Presented by Bill Silva Presents.

Cast: Band: Jones, Robert Devery, Kendell Kaye, Michael Alejandro, Rick Boston.

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