Posted by: Carolyn Droke
Another successful WLUW-presented show for the books! Jerry Paper took the stage at the iconic Empty Bottle to play for a packed house. Although Jerry Paper and his band took the stage later than I had anticipated (however it is the empty bottle, so I really should have expected a midnight headliner), the “Like A Baby” singer was still able to captivate the crowd.
Curt Oren was the first opener. I was able to catch the tail-end of his solo set. He had hung a large white sheet to act as a projector screen. Oren projected a close-up image of presumably his dad, then told the crowd he needed our help to sing the next song. “This song is inspired by my dad,” said Oren. “On the count of three I just want you to scream as loud as you can.” Most of the crowd participated in the collective scream, an that was the whole song. Oren then asked us to visit him at the merch table, where he had baked chocolate chip cookies for everyone.
Healing Potpourri was the next to grace the stage. The six-piece band played what I would categorize as tropical elevator music. Healing Potpourri was fronted by a man adorning sunglasses inside who would switch between saxophone and jazz flute. The opener had several groovy songs, but I the easy-listening music admittedly began making me sleepy as it was nearing midnight.
Jerry Paper and his band finally got on stage around midnight. Jerry Paper was wearing his performance outift – a mustard yellow velvet dress and white socks with black Tevas. A definite fashion icon. Jerry Paper knew how to work the crowded room and addressed the audience directly several times, asking for their “respect” after a group of rowdy frat boys were screaming at him for what was longer than necessary.
Most of the songs Jerry Paper played were from his recently released Stones Throw album Like A Baby, which is a conceptual album inspired by a fictional shopping mall. Jerry Paper was just on the microphone and lost himself to dance during instrumental breaks. Jerry Paper and his band played my favorite song, “A Moment” and got the crowd to sing along to his Weyes Blood-featuring track “Gray Area.” At the end of his set, he told the crowd he “doesn’t like to lie” and say he’s leaving the stage only to return for an encore. He asked us for our “respect” a second time and said he’d play two more songs if we didn’t expect an encore. Overall, the band played a fun and funky show that was hard to keep from moving your body.
Like A Baby is out now, available on all streaming platforms.