Daryl Hall is one of our greatest living talents. His music is specific. His melodies are catchy. He knows how to lead a group — like Hall and Oates — and he knows how to go it alone, as he now does every week in Live From Daryl’s House on Palladia.
Daryl Hall’s gift is being able to inspire talent and then make that talent undeniably better just by his presence. That’s the job of a producer, and when you’re also a performer, you bring a double bang whammy to a live performance. Daryl delivers lots of boom for your live performance Palladia buck in his weekly series where he plays from his house with a guest artist. Daryl Hall songs are performed along with songs the guest artist has helped make famous.
Live From Daryl’s House doesn’t always hit big — but the show always gives a great try. Two recent episodes that failed were with Rumer and another with Chiddy Bang. Rumer is a big blob of emotional boring — nothing Daryl tried brought her out or up out of her self-imposed miserable boredom; and Chiddy Bang, with their rapping and popping, just never found the right groove to fit in and match the vibe in Daryl’s house. Both episodes were valiant, if not bright, uncomfortable, failures.
Last week, Daryl was “Live from the Borgata” and that show, too, was an odd disappointment. The room seemed cold. The audience was too old. His band wasn’t squeezed into a tiny room in his house to create a great static electricity that grinds the show forward. Guest singer Sharon Jones was loud and unsympathetic. The youngish Allen Stone — Daryl believes he is the next coming of himself — was a fine talent, but I’m not sure if it’s a compliment to refer to Allen Stone as a Daryl Hall clone/brother/son/child/stepson, because a surefire totem of music business death is to brand a new talent circa-1980’s mainstream Pop. Sure, Allen Stone is gifted, but the world does not need a carbon copy of Daryl Hall. One is plenty enough for the pleasing, we thank you.
Sharper shows from Daryl’s House include the Cee Lo Green episode. Cee Lo was bang-on and in beautiful voice and seemed overjoyed to be there. He challenged Daryl to match his brilliance, and Daryl did just that. It was an amazing show filled with musicianship and deep respect from everyone in the room, and it was a true collaboration of musical talents. That show is a blueprint for how different styles can flow together to create something greater than what stood alone.
Another excellent episode was the Nick Waterhouse show. Nick is a little odd and old fashioned, but his throwback singing style doesn’t suggest something ancient and discovered. He instead brings us along a circuitous trip tinged with modern rhythms and a keen sense of a snapping melodic discipline. Daryl had to fight to keep up with Nick, but he did, and a terrific show of showmanship highlighted by outstanding music was the result.
By far, my favorite episode was the show with Butch Walker. Butch is a young, old timer. He’s been around forever. Butch has written big hits for a multiplicity of superstars like Katy Perry, Weezer, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy and P!nk. Yet, Butch never really made it big on his own as an artist — not that he really cares — but I care, and so I went back to listen to some of his solo music. On his own, Butch Walker comes off wan and uncomfortably idiosyncratic. We quickly tire of his cloying cuteness. However — When Butch Met Daryl — something big changed in Butch and he, thankfully, became something other than himself. With Daryl’s help, Butch Walker began to shine and have fun and become interesting in personality and method. Daryl led Butch, taught him, and made him so much better as a singer and performer and, in the end, Butch realized just as much and told us so. That is an episode that must not be missed. You’ll see the Daryl Hall magic happen in real time.
If you want to watch the musical process in action — and learn how hits are made and why careers begin to mend and rejuvenate and invent again — then catch a watch of Live From Daryl’s House sometime and begin to live again. That fact that Daryl is still living with the brutality of Lyme disease makes his ongoing performances even more spectacularly special.