I never thought I could fall head over heels in love with a band from a 6 second video, but then my tastemaker friend Daniel Jackson (@ListenYoungMan) posted this on Vine. The clip shows a young Dana Carvey looking Southern guy dressed in a suit, kneeling down on stage and wailing out a soul wrenching song that gave me chills. From that that first moment I saw St. Paul and the Broken Bones I scoured the internet looking for anything I could find about them. At the time (over a year ago), all I could find was their Bandcamp page with only a few songs on it, which I listened to it non-stop. Things were quiet for the next several months until NPR released a First Listen of their first full-length album, Half City, released February 2014. Tour dates were shortly released and I secured tickets for the LA show at the Troubadour (via a generous birthday gift from one of my best friends).
In the weeks leading up to the show it was like StPBB had caught fire. Friends across the country were talking about them on Instagram and Twitter, their shows were selling out nearly everywhere and sites like Paste Magazine were already naming them on Best of 2014 lists. I knew this was going to be an incredible show.
Five of the six members of the Alabama band took the stage, leaving lead singer Paul Janeway, in the wings. As the horn players started playing Janeway slid across the stage and began what was to be a passion filled performance. He wore a suit complete with cuff links and white-patented leather shoes and every song he belt out with an intense fiery passion. It was like Janeway was a preacher calling his flock to worship at the altar of his music. It’s no surprise his performance was reminiscent of a preacher because Janeway in fact used to be a preacher. He grew up in a conservative Alabama home where he also sang in the church choir and eventually started preaching. He credits his days as a preacher for teaching him how to interact and engage the crowd. Song after song StPBB gave a performance that reached down and touched the very depths of our souls. Between his James Brown moves and his sexy Sam Cooke covers to his literal giddiness to be playing such an iconic venue, Janeway treated us to an unforgettable night. We walked out knowing we had just seen something incredible that was going to turn into one of those “before they were famous” stories we would be telling at dinner parties.
I’m not one to make predictions about musical trends, because who can really foresee what the future holds? But, when it comes to StPBB I’m looking in my fortuneteller’s ball and seeing their bright future where they do for retro-soul-rock what Mumford & Sons did for folk.
To start your own personal obsession with St Paul and the Broken Bones buy their album HERE.
Words and photos by Anne-Marie Schiefer