Live Review: Billy Burke — The Foundation Room, West Hollywood
Wed, 23 Jun 2010 08:00:31
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For his CD release party last night, Billy Burke gave Hollywood some real grit.
Performing selections from his solo debut, Removed, Burke made the typically trendy Foundation Room at the House of Blues feel like a backwoods watering hole, and that's no easy task. With faint candle light and a packed room filled with what looked like a bunch of Nordstrom's models, Burke transported everyone into a smoky thought-provoking realm that was way more film noir than modern couture. In fact, Burke's transformative show stood out as poignant, powerful and poetic all at once, just like Removed.
Right now, Burke's Bella Swan's dad in the Twilight series and, unless you're a vampire with no access to On-Demand, you've seen him. However, you really need to hear him.
Burke blends a gravelly, sensitive delivery a la Ray LaMontagne with a vivid lyrical sensibility that's somewhere between Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski. In other words, Burke churns out bluesy and ballsy songs that'll make you think, but still work for a drink. He kicked off the set with a meandering melody for "Son," and his cinematic lyrics resounded. Instantly, Burke transfixed the whole crowd.
"Pollyanna Rose" started with a smooth countrified stomp that quickly shifted into a poppy hook that was impossible not to hum along to. Afterwards, Burke announced, "It's been a long time since I've played."
From how pristine his voice was, it certainly didn't feel like it. A gospel twang wrapped around the soaring harmonies on "Vodka Knows," as Burke espoused street prophet-style witticism in the words. The album's title track, "Removed" then seesawed from a somber verse into an uplifting refrain—definitely one of the evening's most infectious.
Burke didn't say much between songs, but a smile here and there said all he needed to. He truly feels at home on stage, and the charisma was instantly palpable. "Seeing Angels" provided an epic segue into the show's final strains with pianos and massive harmonies.
As Burke sauntered away after the final song, it was clear that even though he's Kristen Stewart's old man in Twilight, he's got a whole lot of new tricks up his sleeve when he gets behind the mic.
Have you heard Billy's music yet?