Tupelo roots rocker and Americana story teller Paul Thorn brought his “What The hell Is Goin’ On,” tour to Seattle’s Triple Door Thursday night, making the turn in the far left corner of the country and is now head south with a batch of new friends and fans in tow.
The server at our table said, “I never heard southern rock here before, this should be fun,” and he was correct. Thorn and his muscular four piece road band casually strolled onto stage then commenced to deliver a 22 song 90 minute set that nearly burned the place down with the roaring “What Have You Done To Life Somebody Up,” as they are not accustomed to rock shows in such comfy confines. Thorn delivers his songs and stories with the charming southern drawl and homespun demeanor of a modern Will Rogers. Interjecting poignant anecdotes between songs that instantly drew in the eager audience with his quirky view on life, love and the world we live in. Thorn’s right hand man guitarist Bill Hinds is a truly unsung guitar hero, who’s playing was featured right from the get go and blew the roof off on his solo’ s on the Elvin bishop tune ”What the Hell is going on,” and the blistering heavy blues “Walk in My Shadows.” Thorn dedicated that song to all the men in the house, who might get lucky with their lady’s after the show, but declared they would all be thinking of him. I bet he’s right.
Thorn gave a the band a break mid point in the set making a plug for his new album and genius marketing idea with his custom made retro lunch boxes featuring the cover art he created depicting himself and Jesus in a bathtub in heaven being served spam sandwiches by pretty girls. Thorn then delivered three solo acoustic songs, highlighted by the heartfelt “When the Long Road Ends.”
While bringing the band back, Thorn introduced them to the crowd including Portland native Ralph Friedrichsen, who will no doubt enjoy his homecoming show on Friday. It is unfortunate the Triple Door doesn’t have space for a dance floor, as the band powered thru a grooving second half climaxing with the rockin’ “Long Way From Tupelo,” and the call to arms “Rise Up.” Thorn headed directly into the seats for the encore; following the example of his daddy who was a preacher,” to be with the people and lead everyone in song,” for the revival that was “Take My Love With You.”
A very real performance from a very real performer who brought the love.
Here is my hand held iPhone video of the encore...pardon m for singing along.
An extra note Grants Peoples opened the show with his rousing set of socio/political sing along songs. The thought provoking songwriter was a hit earlier this summer at a Woody Guthry celebration as he is carrying the torch of thinking mans protest song. He gather the crowd together to sing a hymn to all that is wrong with the country on his amazing song "High Fructose Corn Syrup." And the pride fest may have a new theme song in his "Gay and Lesbian Sons and Daughters of the Southern Confederacy."
Rick J Bowen