Sign up for newsletter

King's eclecticism sounds just right

Belasco Theatre, Los Angeles, November 12, 2018

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Elle King beautifully defied easy categorization with her eclectic concert setlist. She's a pop diva, but one that loves traditional American music as much as a good pop tune. Her downtown concert drew liberally from her fine new "Shake the Spirit" album, as everything was sung convincingly with King's powerful voice.

King is as eclectic a dresser, as she is musician. She took the stage wearing a powder blue dress that looked like a cross between a MuMu and a schizophrenic bridesmaid gown. The long sleeves sometimes made it difficult for King to play her banjo. Oh, King rocks a banjo. And by 'rock,' we don't mean merely play one; she rocks out playing the banjo, rather.

Stylistically, King easily traveled from rockers, like "Talk of the Town" and "Naturally Pretty Girls," to the old school soul and R&B of "Good Thing Gone" and "Little Bit of Lovin'." King's band was flexible enough to get loud with her, yet be quiet when the singer hushed her tone.

Unlike too many of today's pop divas, who are more concerned with fashionable attire and dance moves than actual music, King obviously loves many different varieties of music and is unafraid to experiment with many of them. It's easy to see why Dierks Bentley found a kindred soul in King when he sought out a duet partner for "Different for Girls." A downhome heart beats in that there girl. She may be a pop star, but this show featured more banjo than every other major mainstream country show that's come through town this year.

King may be too pop for some country fans, but too much of a hick for pop contemporaries. For these fans tonight, though, her eclectic sounds sounded just right.

Nashville's Cordovas opened with a strong set of rootsy rock and roll. They had a sound - and the beards - to match The Band's foundational musical approach. The act's dual electric lead guitar attack also gave it a vintage Southern rock vibe. A sing-along on The Grateful Dead's "Truckin'" made for the perfect cover.