When fast-rising vocal heavyweight Allen Stone crept center stage Friday night at the Crocodile, he wore a confident smile that acknowledged the actuality of a much-anticipated event. A well-deserved moment of self-satisfaction, the Seattle (by way of Chewelah, Wash.) resident has the kind of sultry approach to r&b that has local fans gobbling up tickets like the fucking Cookie Monster (it was a sell-out), and a set of pipes that, if focused at an American Idol-type TV contest, would leave the resulting season looking like the singing equivalent of a Blake Griffin dunk-reel.
While Stone's chops in the soul/r&b realm are well-documented, the vocalist chose to begin with a series of folky ballads (mainly covers), which included some killer harmonies with a barefoot blonde in a black dress named Alessandra Rose, in addition to some solid banjo, double bass, and drum backing.
After Stone apologized for the "Johnny-be-good bullshit," and promised to return and "funk the shit out of" the audience, he threw on a Sonics jersey and cued his newly assembled (some of the musicians were constant in both arrangements) seven-piece band James Brown style--arms flailing--and became a funk star for most of the remainder of the night. Primarily singing, gyrating pain-faced, and occasionally strumming the acoustic, Stone also hopped on the keyboard for a slow jam, and tossed in a Bob Marley cover for good measure. The variety was impressive, as was the backing band that kept stride perfectly with each turn, and Stone's delightfully sexual back-and-forth with the crowd made dancing easy, especially when he called upon each side of the room to "shake [their] tushy."
Then he played this song:
. . . and absolutely brought the house down. At the show's conclusion, the crowd appeared excited yet restless, but the vibe didn't last long, because, as with any good sexual experience, there was an encore.
The opening band: Eternal Fair, played a respectable, hair-whipping set of indie rock. Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Vait really jumped out of his singer/songwriter persona and had a rollicking good time.
The capacity of the Croc:reportedly clocks in at 560, but that must include the entrance hallway and both bathrooms, 'cause man, was that place packed.