Tower Of Power Rocks Norton Center For The Arts
Tower of Power brought their Oakland brand of soul to Danville last night and performed for an enthusiastic crowd at Centre College's Norton Center For The Arts. Friends in attendance included Kim & Jennifer Harrod, Miles Osland, Lisa Osland, Jerry & Angela Martin, Vince DiMartino, Bridge Bickel, Mr. & Mrs. David Cox, Kevin Dennison, Stevie DiMartino, Wayne & Shirley Miller, Robbie Wood, Robbie & Marti Reid, Frank & Lori Spragens, Carl Collins, Dr. & Mrs. Cody Birdwell, Keith & Arlene Rector, Hunt Butler, Robert Griffin, Bob Bryant, Jill Coffman, Robert Moser, Ben Lacy, Clyde & Patty Gilpin, David & Teresa Tope, Roddy "Paradiddle" Tate, Mr. & Mrs. Tom Binford, Rick Cook, Tom Senff, and many, many more. Everyone was excited about hearing some serious horn-driven East Bay soul.
Though I was spoiled several weeks ago hearing TOP in the accoustically impressive Orleans Showroom in Las Vegas, Norton Center's Newlin Hall was pretty decent. Of course the band was outstanding and burned all night, though I would have liked for the sound technician to have brought Iron Mike Bogart's lead trumpet level up somewhat. Other than that, the mix was pretty good. As long as I am able to hear saxman Tom Politzer's blazing altissimo register tenor solos and Doc Kupka's fat and funky baritone sax licks, I'm good to go. Soulful vocalist Larry Braggs was fighting a hoarse throat, but worked around it beautifully and was very impressive nevertheless. After the show, he told me that he had been trying to get over the problem for the past several days. He was looking forward to being off next week to fully recuperate before the tour continues in Japan. Emilio Castillo sang lead on "You Got To Funkifize, "Diggin' On James Brown", and "It's Not The Crime", which gave Larry a chance to rest his voice a little. "You're Still A Young Man" was the last song of the night and Larry brought everyone to their feet as he displayed his incredible chops on the vamp at the end of the song.
I had fun talking with all the guys after the concert. Great barbecue was catered in and everyone enjoyed it. I brought with me several nice photos of the band that my friend RC Smith and I had taken in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. The bandmembers each signed the photos as we tried to keep the barbeque sauce off of the 8x10's as best we could. They all commented on how much they liked them. RC is a fine photographer and had taken some truly outstanding shots. In fact, Larry Braggs, Tom Politzer, and trumpeter Adolfo Acosta liked them enough that they asked me to mail them each a copy.
Tom is a very aggressive and funky player. He sounds better every time I hear him. I met Tom several years ago at a TOP concert in Louisville and enjoy "talking saxophone" with him every chance I get. Last night he was telling me how much he loves his Yamaha tenor setup playing in this band. As well as being a phenomenal player, he is a really cool guy.
Having heard them four times over the past month, I guess I have satisfied my immediate craving for live TOP, though the need never goes away for long periods of time. I'm sure I'll be on the TOP website in a week or so checking their updated tour schedule and trying to plan my next soul vaccination.