Mike Dillon & Amandla 2.9.18
Words by Kristin Zachman (Direct Attention)
Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)
The night’s acts stood up to their overstimulating surroundings. Amandla, Claude Coleman Jr.’s passion project, opened the night up after a tumultuous day of travel for the leading man. A kind gesture in the form of a flight from Kansas City to Denver turned into a nightmarish six-hour waiting game at the gate. Even though the show was delayed because of this unfortunate setback, none of the patrons seemed bothered. Everyone could be seen either lounging on the couches, grabbing some drinks, or taking advantage of the pool tables.
Once the music started, it wasn’t long before Amandla filled the room with smooth genre-melding sounds. The band played tracks from all three of Coleman’s records, the majority from the newest, Laughing Hearts. A blend of smooth rock rhythms, bluesy guitar, and a dose of Asheville twang set Amandla apart from the main act. Initially a solo mission for Coleman, he’s finally got a troupe of stellar musicians to bring Amandla to life. The lineup is a testament to the caliber of Asheville’s musicians. Jazz Uries held down the drum kit, with Ram Mandelkorn supporting Claude on guitar, while Simon Thomas George brought flavor to the keys, and Nathan Lambertson stood in on bass guitar. Claude fronts the production playing guitar and singing. Amandla’s unique style and introspective lyrics give listeners an insight into Coleman’s personal and musical journey.
All in all, Dillon didn’t disappoint, he brought high energy and dark comedy to Denver on Friday night. A strangely satisfactory mashup of punk rock, jazz, and even an inkling of spoken word put Mike Dillon in his own personal category of musicians. Backed up on the bill by Amandla, this tour isn’t one to miss. Catch these acts Thursday in Portland, OR at The Goodfoot, Friday in Eugene, OR at Whirled Pies, Saturday in Seattle, WA at The Royal Room, and Sunday the 18th in Zig Zag, OR at the Skyway Bar and Grill. Both Life is Not a Football by Mike Dillon Band as well as Amandla’s Laughing Hearts are out on multiple platforms for purchase.
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