Concert Review: Mint Condition at Dallas House of Blues

Take some classically-created soul, stir in some dashes of rock, pop and jazz, and top it off with a generous helping of old-school funk:  it was this flavorful recipe of musical gumbo  that Mint Condition fed to fans in Dallas' House of Blues on Friday night, and no one left the packed venue unsatisfied.

Take some classically-created soul, stir in some dashes of rock, pop and jazz, and top it off with a generous helping of old-school funk:  it was this flavorful recipe of musical gumbo  that Mint Condition fed to fans in Dallas' House of Blues on Friday night, and no one left the packed venue unsatisfied.

Celebrating twenty years together and the impending release of their seventh studio release (cleverly entitled 7), the MN-based quintet has always enjoyed a loyal following from the 35-and-older crowd, but thanks their heightened profile (the quintet served as the house band on TV One's Way Black When last February), younger listeners were in the building to witness how the self-contained band remains so in-demand.  In just over an hour and a half, Mint Condition took fans through a mesmerizing mix of proven classics ("U Send Me Swingin',"  "So Fine," "You Don't Have to Hurt No More") and newer favorites, such as the show opener, 2005's "Look Whachu Done 2 Me," and one of their most enduring hits to date, the 2008 break-up anthem "Nothing Left To Say," which got the crowd to their feet  as they swayed and sung along.

In today's ‘program-by-numbers, auto-tuned instant music' era, it may have been a revelation for some of the newer fans to witness live instrumentation and experience the effortless, unspoken chemistry at work right before their eyes, but even the seasoned fans in their midst were awestruck, thanks to an extended version of the 1996 rock tempest, "Sometimes," and a raucous run through their edgy 2008 song, "Why Do We Try," which featured both bassist Rick Kinchen and front man Stokley Williams on vocals and ended with Mr. Williams commanding an axe and drum kit just as capably as his multi-ranged tenor.

When Stokley told the crowd that "we're gonna be your radio tonight," he meant it: their latest hit single, "Caught My Eye," was sweetly, yet skillfully rendered, and the band served up all the variety of a shuffled iPod when they took fans through a medley of funk staples like "Atomic Dog" and "Soul Power" before Mr. Williams initiated a compelling (and at times, borderline crazy) call-and-response session of croons, growls and scats. "Pretty Brown Eyes," was the expected encore, but it was revitalized with a celestial, Prince-like intro before segueing into the signature groove, reminding all in attendance of how far they'd come as a band while, simultaneously, acknowledging how much farther they could still go.

By Melody Charles

 

.

 

Leave a comment!