On Wednesday night, 12/12/12, we saw Concrete Blonde perform the first date of at the brand new Sinclair club in Cambridge. The club was scheduled to open months ago, but a series of construction delays caused shows to be rescheduled at other clubs. Concrete Blonde wound up being their inaugural show.
I first saw Concrete Blonde with my dear friend Tyson back in 1991. They opened for Sting at the Worcester Centrum and they really blew us away. Now it's 21 years later. A lot of the music I listened to back in high school is no longer in regular rotation. I have different taste now. But I still love Concrete Blonde. I've come to think that if Black Sabbath were fronted by a chick, it would sound an awful lot like them.
I hadn't been sure what the new club would be like, as it billed itself as a club and restaurant. I guess I kind of expected small cabaret tables, a set-up similar to Club Passim around the corner. That turned out not to be the case. The restaurant is actually a separate part of the building. It will be opening soon. The club itself is standing-room. We stood up near the stage, but there were also several levels of balconies along the perimeter. Everything was pristine and new, and you could smell a hint of "new car smell".
Frontwoman Johnette Napolitano was clearly excited to be the band to officially open the club. She wished everyone a happy 12/12/12 and gave a shout-out to the Virgin of Guadalupe (Johnette has an affinity for all things Latin American, as do we). The band rocked hard for a full 2+ hours. They played some new songs, old favorites, and covers. They started off the night with a stripped-down version of the new Rosalie. Johnette's voice was clear and amazing.
Then they seriously rocked on Beds Are Burning. It was an intense show; seeing them in such an intimate club was a very different experience than it was in a stadium. A small handful of songs were brand new to me, but most were familiar. Laurie Sargent joined Johnette on vocals for one song. The band powered through song after song, never even leaving the stage before they launched into an encore. Before we knew it, it was 11:30. After a frenetic new I Know the Ghost (with several false starts as Johnette tried to get guitarist Jim Mankey to sing with her), they ended the night with Tomorrow Wendy, which was just beautiful. Great band, great set, great venue!
Everyone has said that the club sounded incredible as well. We sacrificed good sound quality for a position right up front, but it's nice to know that overall the place has good acoustics.
Concrete Blonde (Boston Globe Photo)