Teddy Thompson and Etienne de Rocher. At the Lobero Theatre,
Saturday, September 9.
Reviewed by Felicia M. Tomasko
When Teddy Thompson made his third
appearance at Sings Like Hell to conclude its 19th season Saturday
night, the audience members were on the edge of their seats — and
Thompson and his band delivered. This was Thompson’s first time
holding the stage as a headliner, and he took to it as part of a
year of touring in support of his acclaimed album Separate Ways.
The scion of a legendary family — Teddy’s parents are folk-rock
legends Linda and Richard Thompson — Thompson has opened for both
Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams this year.
Thompson shone from the start, playing “Shine So Bright” off the
new album. His melodic voice and lyrical guitar-playing were tinted
with a bit of edge, keeping the audience wanting more throughout
the night. A brief comic interlude ensued when he broke not one but
two strings on his guitar. “We don’t usually do this,” he insisted.
The crowd exhorted bassist Brad Albetta to “get funky,” but it was
drummer Greg Wieczorek who happily obliged, stirring up the band
while we waited for Thompson to recover. And recover he did, for a
selection of songs from his new album, including the moving
“Altered States,” the danceable “Everybody Move It,” and the title
track. “If you’re going to go out for a smoke,” Thompson said,
“don’t do it during this one; it’s the rub and the nub.”
Etienne de Rocher opened for Thompson, accompanied by drummer
Todd Roper. De Rocher’s vocal range was impressive, his voice
crystalline. His songs were impressively diverse, though the rock
tunes tugged a bit more at the ear. Aptly, before breaking into
“Providence,” he stopped, gazing out into the Lobero. “Playing in
clubs, you forget there are places like this. It sounds like a
miniature Carnegie Hall,” de Rocher said. Fortunately for us, it