Jennings gets comfortable at Turner Hall Ballroom
Comfortably seated at cabaret tables, fans enjoyed a candlelit concert Friday night by Nathaniel Rateliff and Mason Jennings at Turner Hall.
Nathaniel Rateliff, singer-songwriter from Denver, performed with his three-piece band "The Wheel" to open the show. The gracious, flannel-clad crew bellowed soothing songs to an attentive crowd. At times, a twang emerged from Rateliff, reminiscent of Johnny Cash. The Wheel's back up vocals provided just enough support to give the quartet a really rich sound.
Rateliff beamed, "I have never played in Milwaukee but you guys are great!" He continued, "If everyone here is as nice as you I'm gonna keep coming back.
Previously with the band Born in the Flood, Rateliff seems to be focusing his energy now on the musical stylings of The Wheel.
Mason Jennings took the stage and announced, "Let's start the party." Minneapolis-based Jennings has a deep, distinctive voice and is known for his intimate, but catchy lyrics.
He is a folk singer first and foremost, and he looks the part. His lumberjack beard, wavy tresses and natural ease with the guitar give him a commanding presence on the stage even before he opens his mouth.
His latest album "Blood of Man" is the second album under the Brushfire Records label, owned by Jack Johnson Jennings and Johnson were tour partners in the early days before he signed to Johnson's label in 2008.
Jennings performed a wide range of his songs including "Jackson Square" off the 2006 album "Boneclouds," "Your New Man" from the album "In The Ever" (2008) and several tracks from his new album such as: "Black Wind Blowing," "Ain't No Friend Of Mine," "Sing Out" and the title track "Blood Of Man."
Although he typically sings about love and relationships, Jennings demonstrated his socially conscious side and performed the song "The Field" he wrote about the Iraq War for his latest album.
Longtime Jennings fans jumped to their feet at the sounds of "Butterfly" and "Nothing," two well-known songs from early in his career.
Jennings performed "The Weight" by the Band for his encore and highlighted the vocals of the band members during each verse.
Both with and without his band, Jennings sounded spectacular. The set list was a perfect blend of mellow and raucous allowing Jennings to showcase his range and talent as a musician.
Another great concert by Mason, with one of the longest sets I've seen at a concert. It's always great to see him in person. Disregard the previous poster's negativity and check him out for yourself.
Saw Jennings at the Pabst a few years ago and it was hands-down the worst concert I have ever seen...left well before the end. Maybe I don't "get" his music, but everything sounded the same to me and his voice is annoying. The bright spot of the concert was his opening act Teddy Thompson.
4th street was buzzing with solid performances by a few Jennings last night. No? Anyone? Alright forget it...
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