Electricity by Candlelight
Nov 29, 2013 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
Electricity by Candlelight captures the sort of impromptu performance that nearly always exists only in the memories of its delighted audience. In February of 1997, Alex Chilton had finished a set at the Knitting Factory in New York City when the club unexpectedly lost power. After refunds had been issued to exiting attendees, part of the audience stayed behind and was treated to a candlelit set when Chilton appeared on the floor and was handed an acoustic guitar.
The Electricity set finds Chilton ignoring his Big Star and The Box Tops material and offering an off-the-cuff string of covers to the folks standing with him on the floor. Needless to say, under the electrically-challenged circumstances, it's a lo-fi affair, but you'll find few live recordings where an artist and his audience share an experience as directly and intimately as this.
Chilton touches on a broad range of material—from the country/pop hit parade, with "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," "The Girl from Ipanema," "Surfer Girl," and "I Walk the Line"; to deeper cuts such as Loudon Wainwright III's "Motel Blues" and Nina Simone's "My Baby Just Cares for Me." The audience is playful but respectful, and when a woman asks "Where is he?" about the figure Chilton sings of in "Someone to Watch Over Me," he answers, "Right here, baby. I'm your man." Then, quoting the Glen Sherley song he'd covered a few minutes earlier: "If you want to flirt with a lot of hot danger and hold excitement's hand, step right this way." (www.bar-none.com/alex-chilton.html)
Author rating: 6.5/10
Average reader rating: 10/10