This past Saturday, the Bishop was transformed into a factory of funk, soul, and rock and roll with the help of two guys who came to Bloomington to soak up the talent of the city. The show opened up with a real treat; The Indications, a band that performs only once or twice a year due to the geographical isolation of its members, came on two jam a couple funky instrumental tracks that got people dancing pretty quickly. They then welcomed Durand Jones to the stage, and things picked up. This cooler-than-cool Louisiana native sung his heart out to some slow jams as well as to his recently released single “Smile.” The band, which had a saxophone and trumpet appended to the Indications’ standard arrangement, closed with an electric cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” which breathed a whole new life into the classic. As Durand and his buddies relinquished the stage to a very pleased crowd, the Indications guitarist Blake Rhein hopped over to the turntable in the back to spin some soul classics, the entire venue ready to groove to the main act.
We had barely enough time to ask ourselves, “Who are those guys in the crowd wearing velvet tuxedos?” before Shaun Fleming and his band The Good Dogs stormed onto the stage and immediately burst out into an enveloping performance of “Hymn”, the intro track of off Coffee’s debut album My Friend Fish. Being the drummer of Foxygen and a former child actor, Shaun Fleming (the man behind this psychedelic soul project) knows how to perform. He was pulling faces, dancing around, and just gushing with energy reminiscent of Freddie Mercury. After a couple tracks from both his debut album and newest release Everybody’s a Good Dog, Diane took some time to welcome the audience and gave us the heartwarming reminder “I love you all, you’re my family.”
It was obvious that he was ecstatic to be performing in Bloomington, his home for the past two years. He then broke into a slick and emotional performance of “Green” which he dedicated to his brother in the crowd for his 21st birthday. Throughout the entire show Coffee was backed up by a consistent and impressive band of locals. For his song “Mayflower,” he brought Alex Prince to play the catchy trumpet parts, a trademark factor that separates the new studio-made album from its minimalist predecessor. After playing their last tune, the band quickly bolted off stage, feedback still coming through the speakers, giggling to themselves at the obviousness that an encore was coming. However, it was more than an encore. It was a super encore. The group rushed back in, picked up their instruments, and burst into an insane performance of “New Years”. Watching them tear it up on stage was living proof that rock stars are not just a memento of the past. Diane Coffee is the Glam Rock icon of the modern generation. All in all, Diane Coffee put on what will be a memorable show with his unique energy and charisma while maintaining a high level of craftsmanship without ever feeling like the show was cheesy or gimmicky at any point. Diane Coffee’s tour continues throughout North America and if you are lucky enough to have him visit your town, he is certainly a must see.
-Jeremy Muller & Eric Berger