Paul Wellman

Bryan Ferry at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Ferry Revs Up with Roxy Music and More

Rather than relying on his most familiar hits to keep everyone’s attention, Bryan Ferry lets the depth of his catalog cast its spell. Last Saturday at the Bowl, Ferry fronted a 10-piece band in anticipation of his upcoming “Bryan Ferry with full orchestra” concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and gave energetic, powerful performances not only of “Slave to Love” and “More Than This” but also of such classic early Roxy Music material as “Editions of You,” “If There Is Something,” and “In Every Dream Home a Heartache.”

Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Roxy Music’s influence on later artists can hardly be overstated. Bands as different as Talking Heads, DEVO, and the Cramps are all unimaginable without the innovations Ferry and Roxy introduced. By blending song structures and instrumentation from early rock and soul with a cosmopolitan range of vocal styles informed by the arch cabaret music of the European continent, Ferry crashed Kurt Weill’s icy detachment into the bar-walking showmanship of a Big Jay McNeely sax solo. On Saturday, he played harmonica, like Bob Dylan, and sang a stirring version of Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” demonstrating his inimitable command of cover songs. The presence in the band of guitarist Chris Spedding, another crucial forerunner of punk, gave the proceedings an added fillip of cool, and the entire evening proved that the best rock remains as fresh as when it was first played.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.

San Marcos Principal Files Suit Against Santa Barbara Unified School District

Ed Behrens charges emotional and physical distress due to demotion.

City Water Use Hits 1958 Levels

Population was twice today's; revenue close to falling short of expenses.