Live preview: Van Hunt
Professional disappointment can't stop a determined Angeleno soul man.
Mon Sep 12 2011
Photograph: Courtesy Big Hassle
Los Angeles soul-rocker Van Hunt got a raw deal in 2008, when record execs at Blue Note declined to issue Popular, a wryly titled studio album he'd recorded for the venerable jazz label, having been reassigned from Capitol following corporate restructuring. (Finding Popular via Google takes less effort than the appealingly trippy record is worth.) But Hunt hasn't let professional disappointment derail his career: This month he's back with a new self-released disc, What Were You Hoping For?, and a monthlong U.S. tour that kicks off with these two midsize club shows.
Like all of Hunt's work, Hoping (out September 27) exists at the intersection of several styles and sensibilities, with delicate love songs abutting fuzzed-up sociopolitical rants. It also contains a killer glam-funk ode to his North Hollywood neighborhood, in which he makes a telling declaration: "There are no more secrets after you've been evicted." (Lenny Kravitz fans looking for something edgier than his polished Black and White America need search no further.) This week Hunt will be backed by a three-piece band that includes keyboardist Peter Dyer, who also plays with L.A. soul eccentric Aloe Blacc. Expect new tunes delivered with long-bottled intensity.