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 Elliott Brings Joy to Houston Show

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Angie
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PostSubject: Elliott Brings Joy to Houston Show   October 21st 2007, 8:24 pm

http://blogs.chron.com/handstamp/archives/2007/10/elliott_yamin.html

Elliott Yamin wasn't about to let a small crowd mess with his groove.

The American Idol finalist's Friday night show at the Meridian drew a turnout that likely didn't even hit the 300 mark. The main hub was dismayingly easy to manuever, and even the mens room was empty. A bored attendant was hunched in a chair amid hand soap and Twix bars.

"Yeah, slow night," he muttered.

It was surprising, given Yamin's current radio success. But it hardly mattered once he took the stage. Yamin's hourlong set was an exercise in pure joy -- elegant, engaging and souful for both performer and his "intimate crowd."

Yamin's onstage prowess has grown impressively since his Idol days. He still has that unassuming, aw-shucks charm, but he also has a natural ease that's fun to watch.

Show opener Alright set a lively tone, and Yamin brought crystal-clear conviction to uplifters Free and Find a Way, which he dedicated to U.S. troops; and emotive ballad Take My Breath Away.

Vocally, his tone remains pure and regal. Yamin isn't only, as Simon Cowell noted, Idol's best male vocalist to date. He's one of the brightest new voices in contemporary pop music.

And it's still baffling why one-note Taylor Hicks became the show's resident white boy with soul. We've been over this before. Did the judges actually hear Yamin sing?

But enough Idol quibbling. Yamin turned In Love With You Forever into a joyous, soulful cry. And his take on Dr. Hook's Sharing the Night Together had sublime, spectacular moments of vocal tone.

A six-member band provided impressive rhythms, veering effortlessly between pop, jazz, soul and even funk grooves. It's an interesting mix that's agressively commercial but still manages some edge.

Among the onstage players was backup singer Jose "Sway" Penala, who made it to Idol's top 24 alongside Yamin. Completing the mini Idol season-five reunion was Woodlands native Will Makar, who clapped alongside the crowd (and a chaperone who looked to be his mom).

Dave Rossman: For the Chronicle
Yamin's soulful energy filled the room.
Train Wreck, the first song Yamin says he's written, was a soulful standout, making the most of his warm, elastic tenor. It was followed by a rousing take on Little Ghetto Boy, a tune by Yamin's hero, Donny Hathaway.

What's ultimately so likable about Yamin is the positive energy he radiates. It's sincere without being cheesy, and he pays attention -- but never panders -- to the audience.

"I know you know the lyrics," he told the crowd before launching into hit single Wait for You, a terrific moment of pop heartbreak. He followed it with another set of crowd-pleasers: glittering new single One Word and Movin' On, a jazzy, energetic standout from his debut disc.

Yamin closed accompanied by just his keyboard player during A Song For You, the classic that became his signature Idol tune.

The sweet serenade -- "We're alone now, and I'm singing this song for you" -- fit the room. So maybe it wasn't a sell-out crowd. Yamin's immense talent and inspiring energy was enough to fill a much bigger arena.

Rock band the Last Goodnight opened the show with a sound and look that could have used a little less Maroon 5, a little less Fall Out Boy -- and a lot more edge.

Lead singer Kurtis John's voice strained during emotive ballads. First single Pictures of You drew some enthusastic screams, but the group's lack of a uniquely-theirs, defining sound will probably keep them from the big time -- or take them there very soon. Hey, it worked for the bands they emulate.

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PostSubject: Re: Elliott Brings Joy to Houston Show   October 21st 2007, 10:57 pm

Great review for our Elliott. Although crowds may be small at some of these venues I am sure with each appearance he will definitely be bigger and bigger in the entertainment field. Only one gripe from me on the interview and that is the constant put down of Taylor Hicks in one form or another. After all these two guys are friends.

As for the Last Goodnight, I actually like this group and currently they are on the top 20 at VH1 so I would say they are garnering fans. Bravo to Elliott for having them as his opening act.

Elliott seems to be doing great without the influence of the Clive Davis group and I could not be happier for him.

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