Photo by G.
I am definitely biased when it comes to Van Hunt’s music. He can pretty much do no wrong by me musically as I’ve loved the progression of his sound from album to album. He gets compared to Lenny Kravitz and Prince a lot and I see why people say those things; however, if you see Lenny or Prince these days, they’ve lost the creative spark that used to show them setting trends instead of following them. Enter Van Hunt. He’s not Prince and he’s not Lenny. He’s one of the few artists out there that is taking chances musically. The latest direction in his music is the 2011 album “What Were You Hoping For?” a seamless fusion of Soul and Punk! The title of the album suggests correctly that if you think you are going to get a rehash of the types of songs Van Hunt has already released, you’ve probably purchased the wrong album.
I’ve recommended going to see Van Hunt live every chance you can because he is not just an exciting studio musician, but when he performs, you get to see a whole other side to Van Hunt. He’s not one to sound exactly like his records in concert and in fact he typically plays almost unrecognizable versions of his songs as he changes the arrangements dramatically. For those that have been unable to see Van live, the next best thing is “Live At The Troubadour 2011,” a 19 track live album recorded in Los Angeles last year. You’ll hear what I’ve been talking about with these great performances of songs like “Character,” which is much more rock than soul; a thrashin’ version of “Her December” instead of the jazzy studio version, and a fast version of “Hot Stage Lights” (known on the album as “Man of the Year”). He also plays a couple of tracks from his still unreleased record “Popular” and even those renditions are different than the studio versions. You’ll also hear live takes on many tracks from “What Were You Hoping For?” including a funky version of the title track, and the thrashing “Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane” as well as the first single, “Eyes Like Pearls.” At the risk of losing fans, Van Hunt is not trying to alienate anyone with the dramatic direction he’s taking. He’s just trying to grow as an artist and listening to “Live at the Troubadour” will cement the fact that Van Hunt is a force to be reckoned with. In addition, the album will tantalize you for his next tour (and great news – his Spring 2012 tour dates are below) and will ensure that you never miss seeing Van Hunt perform live.
3/15Austin, TX @ Cedar Street Courtyard – SXSW/Thirty Tigers Showcase
3/16Houston, TX@Warehouse Live Studio
3/17Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar
3/20 St. Louis, MO @ Lola
3/21Chicago, IL@ Lincoln Hall
3/22Ferndale, MI@ The Magic Bag
3/23Cleveland, OH @Beachland Ballroom
3/24Toronto, ON @The Great Hall
3/27Washington, DC @The Hamilton
3/28Baltimore, MD @Sound Stage
3/29Pittsburgh, PA@ Thunderbird Café
3/31Providence, RI@ Fete Lounge
4/1Philadelphia, PA@ World Café Live
4/2New York, NY @ The Studio @ Webster Hall
4/3Brooklyn, NY@ Knitting Factory
4/5Charlotte, NC@ Double Door Inn
4/6Atlanta, GA @The Earl
4/7Nashville, TN @ Jazz & Jokes
4/9Columbus, OH @The Basement
4/11Dayton, OH @Canal Street Tavern
4/13Bloomington, IL @The Castle Theatre
4/14Davenport, IA @RME Performance Hall
4/15Minneapolis, MN @Fine Line Music Café
The Tracklist for Van Hunt’s Live at “The Troubadour” 2011 is:
2. Dimples On Ur Bottom
3. Hello Goodbye
4. Man Of The Year
6. Seconds Of Pleasure
7. Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane
8. What Were You Hoping For?
9. North Hollywood
10. What Can I Say?
12. Prelude Reprise / Highlights / Peter Intro
13. Eyes Like Pearls
14. Her December
15. A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend
17. Down Here In Hell
18. The Lowest 1 Of My Desires