St Paul & The Broken Bones With Y La Bamba-Wellmont Theater-Montclair, NJ

St Paul & The Broken Bones With Y La Bamba

At The Wellmont Theater

     There was a buzz in the air as the audience prepared itself for an evening of music at the iconic Wellmont Theater in Montclair New Jersey.  I don’t know if the audience was quite prepared for the roster that included indie alternative/experimental band led by singer/songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza and then followed by headliner St. Paul & The Broken Bones. 

     Y La Bamba has a sound that is all at once quite eclectic and surreal in its arrangements.  They interweave musical genres easily and you’re left with bits and pieces of hip-hop, jazz, cumbias, and latin pop which all mesh deliciously together.  Their musicality mixed with the passionate vocals of Luz Elena Mendoza and her counterpart in vocals Isabeau Keonaona Waiu’u Walker meld the different music styles of mariachi, nueva canciones, and mesmerizing indie-pop on the edge of raw  indie-rock to post-psychedelic Americana.  This group is visually and musically quite enjoyable and are headed to grand places in the music world.  

     The powerful group St Paul & The Broken Bones from Alabama brought their A-game to the Wellmont Theater and as I said the audience was not prepared but treated to a high energy show that left the entire house standing and cheering for more.  

     This band led by Paul Janeway on Lead Vocals,  Jesse Phillips on Bass, Browan Lollar on Lead Guitar, Al Gamble on Keyboards, Allen Branstetter on Trumpet, Amari Ansari on Sax, Chad Fisher on Trombone, and Kevin Leon on Drums brought a slice of Southern Blue-Eyed Soul the likes of which has not been seen in quite some time.  

     Paul Janeway’s powerful vocals on songs like “Call Me”, “Apollo”, “Got It Bad” “Sugar Dyed” and “Minotaur” had the audience singing along and most definitely surprised Paul with the enthusiasm of the audience on these songs and many others.  Surprisingly, at one point in the show Paul donned a sequined robe and slowly made his way through the appreciative audience as he high fived and sang his way to the balcony and was surrounded by happy fans as they took selfies and watched as he belted out his music in the fashion of many soulful greats like James Brown, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett.  

     This group is definitely one of my favorites of this era.  They bring a certain authentic soulful message with their high energy coupled with the powerful voice of their lead man Paul Janeway.  Alabama is certainly to be proud of this one.

Review and Photos by Ray Aponte