Turning the walls of The Van Buren into a cathedral is a tall order, but St. Paul and the Broken Bones filed onstage and took us all to church on Thursday night. The Alabama soul group incorporated seemingly every instrument they could find for an evening of mindblowing music.
The eight piece band hung colorful butterflies from the ceiling and bathed the stage in every color of the rainbow to perfectly complement the rich textures of their music. Singer Paul Janeway is a true powerhouse, proving his vocal mettle as he walked nonchalantly up and down the length of the stage belting out increasingly scale-climbing notes that had the room raising both their hands and their voices.
Only four songs into their set found Janeway meandering through the crowd as the people parted to make room. To the shock of attendees (and the agitation of security), he also scaled the balcony before making his way back down to mingle with the fans.
Just when it seemed like the next song couldn’t possibly top the previous ones, the band would launch into an even more impressive number, overflowing with guitar solos, keyboard riffs and the most well-layered horn section ever to grace The Van Buren’s stage. Couples were dancing, arms were waving and the energy in the room was nothing short of pure love.
One eager fan stole Janeway’s attention with a plea to play “Love Letter from a Red Roof Inn” and, with Phoenix being the last night of the tour, the band graciously complied. Other highlights included “Sanctify” and “Flow With It” while the final track of “Apollo” kept everyone moving and grooving before a striking encore.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones captured our attention several years ago and it was a delight to welcome them back to Arizona- we can only hope that they’ll honor us with another show here soon.
Check out more photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel