DC at Night

DC at Night

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trigger Hippy at the Hamilton

Trigger Hippy live on the Hamilton stage
Some singers spend their entire career singing with one band. And then there is Joan Osborne, whose style is reborn virtually every time she takes to performing live. There is the Joan Osborne who toured behind her smash hit "If God Was One of Us." There is the Joan Osborne, who fronted the Detroit's Funk Brothers with such Motown classics as "Heat Wave" and "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?" There is the Joan Osborne who sits in with The Dead and its various offshoots as a guest vocalist. There is the Joan Osborne who heads out for nights of torch songs with just her long-time keyboard accompanist. There is the blues and soul belter Joan Osborne who recently toured in support of her latest CD Bring It on Home. And then there is the Joan Osborne who last night teamed with singer songwriter Jackie Greene to provide the vocal power for the soul-jam quintet Trigger Hippy at the Hamilton Live here.

In addition to Greene and Osborne, the superstar side project includes Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Nick Favorik,and new guitarist Tom Bukovac.

It didn't take the group long to pack a specially designed dance floor right in front of the stage. Most of the original songs were penned by Greene, who shuttled among his guitar, Hammond B-3, and Steinway piano depending upon the tune. While Osborne and Favorik provided a soulful, rhythmic bottom, Greene and Favorik produced a number of guitar interweavings worthy of double guitar bands such as The Stones, the Dead, the Allman Brothers, and Widespread Panic.

The night's set list
For her part, when she wasn't offering her always powerful vocals, Osborne paced the stage, leaning on the instrumentalists, dancing, swaying seductively in time, or further driving the beat with her tambourine.

While the 90-minute set provided a showcase for Trigger Hippy originals like "Snatchin' in Back," "99 Pounds," and "Tennessee Mud," an extended cover of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" with Greene and Osborne reprising the Lennon/McCartney harmonies was a tasteful  highlight.

The intimate club setting provided a perfect opportunity for the band to interact with the crowd, especially Osborne whose remarks ranged  from "we're perfect for relieving all the political pressure of DC" to a call "Are there any good men out there?" She also danced with crowd members from the stage and led the audience in a sultry rendition of the birthday song for a fan celebrating her special day.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Joan Osborne
Grace Potter
For a few years now, Joan Osborne and Grace Potter, the leader of the jam-band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have been waging a see-saw battle for the title of my favorite female rock singer. Ironically, both Osborne and Potter were performing on DC stages last night. Potter and her band were opening for the Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw Brothers of the Sun show at Fed-Ex field. The decision to go with Osborne over Potter last night was easy. First, Osborne was on an intimate stage, while Potter would be prancing on a far-away stadium stage. Osborne would be performing a full set, while Potter and the Nocturnals would be limited to 35 minutes as one of 2 opening acts. Perhaps the main tipping point was cost - Trigger Hippy, $25 for stage side, McGraw/Chesney topped out at $235.

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