by Jordan Lewis
BURLINGTON, Vermont - Last week, I returned to my former home of six years, where I had the pleasure of catching Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band (I.S.B.) at The Radio Bean last Thursday night. The Radio Bean has long been celebrated as Burlington's eclectic anti-venue, the joint that offers some of the city's best live music in a friendly, relaxed environment.
When Ms. Wright, a native of Rochester, NY, moved to Burlington a few years ago for a change of scenery, she surrounded herself with some of northern New England's finest players, including musicians from nationally touring acts including The Trey Anastasio Band, Strength in Numbers, and The Jake Whitesell Quartet. Since December 2010, the I.S.B. band has held the coveted Thursday night set at the Bean, matching soul classics with original compositions - no easy task with nine musicians living nine separate lives.
The setlist last week included tunes by Curtis Mayfield, Hall and Oates, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and more. "These are the songs from my childhood," Wright told me. "I grew up listening to soul."
Through both visual and aural communication, the I.S.B. navigated the curvaceous material, full of peaks and valleys and stragecially placed breakdowns. Although the horn section and the Rhodes were mixed way too high relative to the vocals, Ms. Wright's stage presence and spirited delivery shone through and embodied the essence of soul: strong, independent, intelligent, and sexy.
Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band is a soul band. They do what they do, and they do it well. If you even happen to find yourself in Burlington on a Thusday night, go check them out.