The show started with Gorillaz playing a tune called Stylo. Damon Albarn sang lead from the piano facing away from the audience. The band was fronted by two black guys that I never recognized, until their vocals came in, it was none other than Bobby Womackwho is still in good voice. Mos Def rapped over a good funk beat. On their second song, On Melancholy Hill, Damon Albarn sang from upfront of his all star band, featuring Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash on Guitar and Bass. Jools interviewed Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the animator for the Gorillaz. Strangely the animation, that was apparently appearing on screens above the band, was not being shown on television, until after the interview. It then featured heavily, maybe the director needed a reminder. Their third song was a duet between Albarn and Little Dragon called To Binge and featured numerous Japanese beer bottles in the graphics.
The Drive by Truckers played a rock song with some nice slide guitar. It featured some country type vocals that reminded me of Tom Petty when he sings in that style. Their second song was a heavier/grungy rock number featuring a different singer, that this time made me think of Neil Young.
Laura Marlin sang Devils Spoke a folky rock tune with a bluesy feel. Her Bass player used a violin bow on an electric bass for an interesting effect. Her second song, Good Bye Old England Covered in Snow, she played solo on acoustic guitar, finger style. It was a nice Joni Mitchell type contemplative tune. Her last song Rambling Man was more serious young woman music.
Jools interviewed Bobby Womack. Bobby was kind of evasive and gave some vague answers about spirituality, then rushed into If You Don’t Want My Love on acoustic guitar with Jools playing some nice piano fills. Bobby said this song was not a hit, but it has been covered by numerous people, from the Four Tops to Ron Wood. Bobby still has the most soulful voice and I am sure if you looked up Soul in the dictionary there would be a picture of him there. .
Diane Birch played Valentino on piano, an up beat funky tune that also had country feel. There was a nice trumpet break. She has a good vocal range and huge saucer like eyes. Her second song was called Fools and was very Carol King like, but I think Diane is a better singer than the legendary songwriter.
Bobby McFerrin played the old song Smile, that I believe was written by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin and was Michael Jackson‘s favorite song. This was kind of an instrumental on voice. He never actually sang the lyrics and had 2 or 3 things happening at once. It must require an amazing amount of practice and training to achieve these skills. He keeps time by beating his chest, which also changes the tones. He got a big reaction from the crowd. This really took me back, because in the 80’s Bobby Womack and Bobby McFerrin were two of my favorite artists. In fact I remember one Bobby McFerringig as one of the best I have ever been to and it featured no instruments all night. The support act was a local all girl acapella group called the Mint Juleps. Then Bobby came on with no supporting musicians, or instruments. But he called up people from the audience to rap and break dance with him. At the end he called back the Mint Juleps to join him and two of the singers from the Flying Pickets, who had a huge acapella hit in the UK with Yazzoo’s Only You, were in the audience and they joined him too. What a night!
Mos Def did a solo spot with a tune called Quiet dog bite hard. It sounded a lot like a Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five track. Mos Def played drums and rapped at the same time, with only a bass and some decks spinning for backing.
Gorillaz closed out the show with a song called Superfast Jellyfish, with De la Soul and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals rapping.
The next edition of Later will be on the 12th November on ABC2 at 10:20PM featuring Hole, Joanna Newsom, Mumford and Sons, Angelique Kidjo, Lissie, Ian Hunter andThe Rant Band