The Tim Buckley Archives

Concert Reviews


Tim Buckley/Kathy Dalton
Max's Kansas City, NY

By Sam Sutherland

Tim Buckley has proven himself one of our more adventurous writers and stylists in the past, his very experimentalism forming his chief strength and weakness as his vocal attack has evolved from its delicate, reedy folk style to its present range of effects. If past bands and tours have found Buckley crippled by his ambitions, his Max's stand made it all worthwhile.

Buckley's current band is possibly his strongest, spiced by strong soloists but equally impressive for its overall ensemble finesse. Their current set focuses on Buckley's most recent album, his first for Frank Zappa's DiscReet label, Sefronia, and the contrast between more evocative, moody pieces and some tough, rhythmic electric music that cooks like the best rock 'n' roll while offering startling vocal excursions from the front man made for an exciting evening.

Buckley is clearly at the peak of his vocal work, his earlier efforts at developing an intense, hypnotic melodic style that revealed his love for long-lined jazz solos now paying off. He's absorbed the technical flexibility earned through those acrobatics, but his sense of economy has been restored as well, and the results are impressive.

Opening the evening was Kathy Dalton, another DiscReet artist whose first solo album offered a striking voice but uneven material. Ms. Dalton's problems persist, her current back-up band being somewhat uneven and the material, most of it from the album, proving equally mixed onstage.

Watch out, though, 'cause the lady has a clear hard-edged tone that is distinctive and could score nicely with stronger tunes.

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