• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • February 18th, 2019

    reCAP :: St. Paul & The Broken Bones :: 2019.02.17

    Words by Jordan Becker
    Photos by Chad Anderson

    Sunday night was the perfect time for a St. Paul & The Broken Bones show, a secular soul revival raising the spirits of a packed congregation of enthusiastic worshippers. Church-trained singer Paul Janeway and his band turned a cold night in Port Chester into a steamy night under the Alabama stars. Janeway regally commanded the stage, a shiny cape over his shoulders like Solomon Burke, and the crowd was in his hands from the start.

    Good performers feed off the energy of the crowd—great ones take that energy and send it back, magnified, and that’s exactly what Janeway and the band did, holding nothing back through the hour and a half set. His voice is a freak of nature, rich and soulful—think Al Green or Otis Redding—with an otherworldly falsetto that thrilled the crowd. The set was filled with songs from the band’s three albums, which evoke Stax and Muscle Shoals classics while gradually incorporating more modern sounds, as well as a couple of extended instrumental jams that showcased the talents of the tight, mostly Alabama based band.

    But when Janeway sings, all eyes focus on him—he is a riveting performer who demands attention. Using hand gestures to egg the crowd on, or using the cape as a prop, he was a force of nature.

    It was hard to choose highlights, but “All I Ever Wonder” whipped the crowd into a frenzy, while a slow-burning “Grass Is Greener,” which Janeway acknowledged was his favorite of their older songs, was stellar. After a long, thrilling instrumental interlude while Janeway left the stage, presumably to gather strength for what was to come, the band launched into a run of songs from their new album, Young Sick Camellia, which integrated some synthesizer and dance rhythms (it was produced by Jack Splash, who has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Cee Lo Green, and Solange, among others), culminating in a joyous “Apollo” and an emotional “Bruised Fruit,” after which the band left the stage, one at a time, until only drummer Andrew Lee was left to wind down the beat.

    A deafening roar greeted the band as they returned for the encore, offering the adoring flock the smoldering ballad, “Sanctify,” before playing a confident version of “Call Me,” the song that put them on the map. After Janeway introduced and thanked the band, they launched into the emotional “Broken Bones & Pocket Change,” as Janeway plunged into the crowd before walking upstairs, singing from the side boxes, traversing and nearly climbing off the balcony, and ending the show from the boxes on the other side. The service was over.

    Valley Queen, a quartet from Los Angeles fronted by singer and guitarist Natalie Carol, were a worthy opener, rocking hard behind Carol’s voice which made you think of a cross between Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Florence Welch, Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards and, in line with Carol’s musing about the history of the Cap, Grace Slick (who appeared on the Cap stage in 1970 with the Jefferson Airplane). Highlights of their set included “Supergiant,” “Stars Align,” “Hold On You,” which featured a nice instrumental jam, and their cover of Destroyer’s “Painter in Your Pocket.”