August 6th, 2012 | Live reviews

jeremiah garcia / courtesy KCRW

As the summer sun slowly descended and evening turned to night, the soulful sounds of Raphael Saadiq filled the crowded courtyard facing the Annenberg Space for Photography in beautiful Century City. It was the final concert of KCRW’s series ‘Who Shot Rock and Roll,’ featuring a set by their own DJ Anne Litt followed by Saadiq and ending with the British rock trio Band of Skulls. The night’s performances celebrated the acclaimed new 4-disc compilation Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 years of Amnesty International which includes 70 other artists covering their favorite Dylan songs.

Saadiq’s set included his own bluesy groovy cover of ‘Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat’ and his usual stylishly arranged soulful R&B jams such as ‘Stone Rollin’ and ‘Radio.’ It’s an amazing experience to see him in the flesh—dudded in retro threads and rocking songs in the style of the old soul singers from the late 60s. It’s like going back in time and seeing one the greats like Charles Wright or Eddie Floyd in their prime and at the top of their game. No one but him is able to pull it off so well—getting the look and the sound so perfectly.

After he finished up his set Band of Skulls took to the stage and gave a performance that destroyed. The threesome keeps it simple with original songs like ‘Hollywood Bowl’ and ‘Devil Takes Care of His Own.’ It’s a winning formula that many try but few are able to pull off. They’re high-energy, heavy blues infused with catchy riffs that make you want to move. Putting Band of Skulls as the headliner was a good choice—they ended the night on a high note.

—Desi Ambrozak