Kids. They sing the darnedest things.
Take 20-year-old Joss Stone and 26-year-old Ryan Shaw - Monday night's headliner and opening act at the Electric Factory. Both have passionate, soulful voices that seemingly belong to neither this place nor this time.
Stone's whiskey-flavored whine - a cage match between Dusty Springfield and Maggie Bell - has generated heaps of attention. But seeing and hearing the lithe miniskirted redhead up close is like the difference between watching the Indy 500 and driving in it.
Whether storming through the slow Stones-iness of "Big Ol' Game" or sweetly toiling through the thumpity shuffle of "Girl They Won't Believe It," there's fluidity and nuance to her gritty wail that had to be experienced up close.
With a big band and three background singers whose harmonious tones Stone wound herself through like spun silk, the singer proved her instincts were flawless.
She got husky through the sissy strut of "Headturner," kicking up her bare feet while badgering the song's Aretha-stolen "what-you-want-baby-I-got-it" quote. She maintained power and clarity in the face of whispering through the gooey "Jet Lag." And Stone kept the slight melodies and corny shoop-shoop swoop of "Put Your Hands on Me" and "Super Duper" shiny and shimmying with her chatty runs.
Shaw? This is one brave cat. The lion's share of his set was composed of rare groove soul that sounded both fresh and vintage. A solidly stark, R&B bar-band-like trio backed the dreadlocked Shaw through edgy falsetto leaps, gruff grunts and breathy "uhh's." And though there's some Terrence Trent D'Arby and Joe Tex in his vocals, Shaw's "baby-baby-baby" vamps on "Do the 45" and eel-slippery slink through "I Found a Love" sounded boldly new.