It's not the size of the crowd but the nature of the crowd that David Bromberg attracts that makes his concerts so unique. Rock, folk, blues and jazz fans -- music lovers of every persuasion -- were literally lined up against the walls, shouting out their requests for Bromberg's sold-out concert at the Bayou last night. Despite a technical problem that forced an unscheduled intermission, Bromberg and his versatile '60s band eventually managed to keep everybody happy.
During an unusually long set, Bromberg shifted effortlessly from one idiom to another, often on the same song. He transformed a simple country-rock version of "Six Days on the Road" into a taut Irish reel strung out on three fiddles and a penny whistle. With Peter Elkhart on cornet, he indulged in a bit of Dixie-land on "You Got to Suffer" before picking out some fine country blues on acoustic guitar.
But Bromberg's appeal isn't strictly musical; as a lyricist he owes more to lord Buckly than to B. B. King. He was smart in holding his manic monologues for the end of the show. After all, a standing ovation is one quick way to clear the seats between sets.
Opening the show was singer Paula Lockheart, one of the most distinctive jazz/blues vocalists working today and unfortunately one of the least recognized.