Raphael Saadiq: Veteran enough to have produced some of TLC hits, yet still sexy enough to turn women’s legs to jelly. Band of Skulls: Putting the “rock” in the final installment of KCRW‘s ‘Who Shot Rock and Roll’ concert series in Los Angeles.
It was a pairing atypical of any booking scenario. Raphael brought the old school R&B and the Skulls brought the retro rock. At first juxtaposition, the two acts seem mismatched but they, in fact, represent the photographic gallery in its entirety–which contains nearly 200 iconic photographs from a half-century of rock, soul and hip-hop.
Saadiq opened the night resurrecting Bob Dylan’s “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” as heard all over KCRW airwaves. Him and his band of soulful and choreographed singers kept the short yet, powerful set in a swinging blues environment including “Heart Attack,” “100 Yard Dash,” “Radio,” and his closing number “Skyy, Can You Feel Me” off his 2002 album. Keyboardist Charles Jones wore a black, choir robe fit for the church and borrowed some lyrics in the last bit of the show, building and building intensity with “I’ve never felt this way!” Although Saadiq leads with ease, he had no problem handing over the microphone.
Next, Band of Skulls took stage fresh off the plane from their Lollapalooza show in Chicago. The British trio used their short set wisely and got straight into the hits with their newest title track, “Sweet Sour.” Back and forth, singing “took my baby to the Hollywood Bowl” and “met my baby after the show,” singer/bassist, Emma Richardson and singer/guitarist, Russell Marsden fed each other lines atop a ragged melody. “Death by Diamonds and Pearls” accompanied by Marsden’s heavy guitar solos ended the concert series in pure rock ‘n’ roll fashion.