Crowd Enjoy Storytelling Wrapped Around An Evolving Dance Party
By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
By all accounts the Bacon Brothers Band have way more fun on stage than may be allowed by law. Fronted by real life siblings Michael and Kevin Bacon, the brothers along with four gifted background musicians (two each from New Jersey & New York) entertained 600 plus concert goers Thursday night (July 25th) at the historic Charleston Music Hall.
Although Kevin might be more known for his work in films and television, don't dismiss his passion for music. He cradles an acoustic guitar like a rock n' roll veteran, and he is one hell of a strong harmonica player. Michael who has been plying the trade since the early 1970's, pretty much commands any instrument with strings. Their songs celebrate love, life, family, and the road.
More than two decades into a regular touring gig, the Bacon Brothers have silenced critics who imagine they are merely a novelty band. Both Kevin and Michael know how to entertain, and seeing them live is nothing short of awesome. Together the duo share a wealth of back stories, adding just enough comedy to make two and a half hours appear effortless.
The Bacon Brothers are products of their baby boomer upbringing, and their music reflects that. Folk, rock, soul, and country music were on full display on the music hall stage. Their songs may not have been played on traditional radio formats over the past 20 years, but with viral and digital avenues their songs have reached the masses and obtained a core following.
After opening with the more familiar 'People Got To Be Free' by the Rascals, the brothers sent up love songs and odes to road, tour buses, and ukuleles. More than two dozen songs in all, each with their own introduction. By my account several could have easily made their way onto Top 40 radio.
Kevin's amusing recollection of 'Beneath Perfection', a song he and Michael wrote for a film Kevin was starring in had all the right elements of a guitar driven pop rock song. According to Kevin, the movie re-titled 'Tremors' (1990), didn't find an audience, but the tune is among one of their personal favorites, and the crowd agreed.
A video screen at times helped facilitate a few of their songs. Many of their writings deal with love, whether in ballad or up-tempo pop form. 'Play' is Kevin's answer to what makes a marriage last, with Michael sharing that when father's worry they often write songs, which is where 'Don't Lose Me Boy' came to life.
Their current self titled album (7th overall) provided several tracks on the evening. A salute to an iconic rocker was well received in 'Tom Petty T-Shirt'. As the show was drawing to a close, the Bacon Brothers thanked the crowd for coming out on a Thursday and added how much they enjoy coming to Charleston.
Kevin began their ascent by introducing a song he said we could all use more of, segueing into 'Peace Dance' which became a prelude to their cover of Kenny Loggin's 'Footloose'. The band all had way to much fun with that number, with nearly half the audience flooding the front stage in an all out dance party. Kevin knows how to be 'footloose & fancy free' providing the crowd with an extra measure of party like atmosphere.
After a short exodus the guys returned offering up Petty's 'Don't Do Me Like That', closing out their show with a honky-tonk infused coming of age number for all boys, 'Only A Good Woman'. With that they once again extended humble appreciation for those in attendance, and committed to returning to the Holy City in the near future. Michael and Kevin clearly care about the music and the crowd they play to. Two decades into their touring career, they are not a flash in the pan, but rather a well oiled musical machine, well worth witnessing.