By Shannon Carlin
If you are one of those people who bought Partie Traumatic and felt as if the Black Kids didn’t live up to the hype (me being one of them) you need to see them live. It’s pretty clear only then can you understand what all the fuss is about. Where the album seems too polished, too pristine on stage the Jacksonville, Florida fivesome let loose. Leader Reggie Youngblood shreds on electric guitar like a true rocker, but sings like Robert Smith. Reggie isn’t a caricature though instead he uses Smith as a guide to how he wants to sound which is apparently whiney and emotional. Of course that sounds like an insult but it is actually a backhanded compliment. He uses just the right emo-ness (for lack of a better word) to sing “oh, baby, you’re too much sugar for my sweet tooth” on “I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again)” without a bit of irony.
For the most part there was little onstage interaction, leaving each member to his or her own devices. Little sis Ali and keyboardist Dawn Watley stayed focused on their respective vocal cues and dancing. Dawn was partial to the head bobbing lean, a signature move for any rock pianist. Ali was a little sassier channeling Tina Turner during the “What’s Love Got To Do With It” days. The audience didn’t seem to mind treating the show like a huge dance party. The crowd broke out all the stops for “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance” even forming a few small dance circles like the good old days of school dances and sweet 16’s. One boy went excessive with the stage diving though leading Ali to scold, “We’re not a swimming pool Dude!”