His love for the music of Stevie Wonder was on display last night at Loci Loft in Berlin: Frank McComb opened his unscripted, one-man solo show with “Golden Lady”, a song that truly sums up his forte when he easily managed to soar through the verses without ever losing grip, style, and power. His permeating voice was all over the piece and especially in this solo set, he was free and easy to take chances and see what would happen. And on “Ribbon In The Sky”, another Stevie tune which happens to be one of my all-time favorites from the master (recorded in 1982), Frank deconstructed the tender ballad and transformed it into a postulating plea.
The show was more or less a celebration of his latest release, “Soulmate: Another Love Story” and so he featured various songs from it, another collection of timeless, true and original soul stuff. “We’re Gonna Be On Our Own” describes the void that is left with so many of our heroes now gone (R.I.P. Geri Allen who passed way too early, too). The new songs were played with the finished tracks coming from his laptop with Frank playing his Korg keyboard and singing over the original material. Which worked well, thanks partly because of the brilliant sound system of Loci Loft, a relatively new club in the northern part of the city.
It was my first encounter with the club and I was immediately positively surprised because of its cool and at the same time cozy interior, lovely staff, and the aforementioned sound. And yes, the Moscow Mule was pretty good, too. The club is just 3 minutes off the S-Bahn so there is really no excuse of not exploring this part of the city as Berliners so willingly decide to stay in their neighborhood. This might become a new, regular hang-out for me. It’s that good! The club will make a short summer break in August and re-opens with another favorite artist of mine, the wonderful Chris Bennett (September 1st).
Frank invited some local artists, two singers (“Someday We’ll All Be Free”, “Georgia On My Mind”), a bassist playing a tiny little ukulele bass with a big sound, a saxophonist, and a drummer, reminding everyone how versatile, agile, and high-class the Berlin music community is. And he finished the set with his take on “Superstition”, announcing it as a hybrid between Stevie and Herbie Hancock and doing it justice with amazing keyboard work and his immaculate, grooving and soul-stirring voice. He plays Bratislava tonight and Klagenfurt on Friday before he heads back to L.A.
Check out the new club and explore Reinickendorf: http://www.loci-loft.de//