Jonathan Wilson performed at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on Thursday March 8th. He plays guitar and keyboard on Roger Waters latest album, and touring with him supporting the new album. They performed last year at the Capital One Arena, at a concert which I attended.
Prior to this show I have heard a few of Jonathan’s songs and was looking forward to hearing more. His music reminds me of the Traveling Wilburys, Pink Floyd as well as The Beatles. The music all night was excellent. Many times during the evening the songs would grab my attention and pull me in, which is not only a sign of a great show, but also great music.
There were a few things that slightly disappointed me during the concert. Before playing his new single that was released this month, he announced it as his new single, but did not mention the name of the song. Myself being a new fan, and not knowing many of the songs, I was slightly at a loss. If I hear a new song that I like and they say the name, I will make note of it so I can listen to the song again.
A few other songs he mentioned being from his new album but did not say the name of these songs either. I did have a slight advantage thought. Standing in front of the stage I could see the song set list! I was trying to keep track of the songs by listening to the chorus of the music, but I got so into the music I lost track.
Overall the vocals and music were great. But at times one overpowered the other. Regardless, I enjoyed every minute of the concert. I think the mix from the soundboard could have helped some.
He started the night playing “Trafalgar Square” from his new album, “Rare Birds”. It starts off with hints of Pink Floyd, then moved with the guitar and vocals reminiscent of The Beatles. This song set the tone for the entire show, and I, looking forward to hearing more music.
They played a few more songs from his new album including “Me”, “Over The Midnight” and “There Is a Light” the latter being one of my favorite song’s. Jonathans vocals hooked me from the start, then the music pulled me the rest of the way in. The song reminds me of the Traveling Wilburys.
The next song, “Sunset Blvd” is also a song from the new album. Jonathan played the keyboards for this song. The tone of the vocals pulls you in then the music takes you on a wonderful journey.
Towards the end of the concert, Laraaji, came on stage with the band to play a zither on the song “Loving You”. Laraaji opened the show for Jonathan Wilson. More about Laraaji later but let me just say, the sounds from the zither, and his vocal were mesmerizing. He has a rare talent. Some musicians can use the sounds of their voice as instrument. Which can bring a personality to a song that no real instrument can bring. Jonathan’s vocals at times sound reminiscent of the late, great Tom Petty This is another one of my favorite song on the new album. Laraaji’s performance was one of the reasons.
Before the show, I met a fan who saw me with my camera and asked me if I was working the show. He asked me if I knew much about Jonathan Wilson. I told him I knew some, but I have not heard much but like music I have heard. He told the music was great, and that I would love the concert. He also told me a bit about Laraaji. Born in Philly, and attending Howard University here in Washington DC studying composition and piano. From there he moved up to New York and playing his music in Washington Square Park. It was during one of his performances in the park, he was discovered by Brian Eno!
Since seeing him open for Jonathan Wilson I have listened to more of his music and he does not play the zither. He makes the zither sing, in a mesmerizing way. I am going to start following Laraaji and if he ever comes to the area to play solo, I am there!
I love listening to new music. As a photojournalist, this concert is a perfect example of why I love doing this. Going to a concert, not knowing much about a performer and being blown away by the music as I was at this concert.
This is one of my favorite concerts, and a big part, listening to Jonathan Wilson and Laraaji, two very talented musicians.
FINAL GRADE: A
Photos by Jeff Talbert