This is a guest post from photographer Julie Finley.
I was in a position I never thought I’d find myself in; I quite literally had Six Degrees of Separation between Kevin Bacon and myself. To clarify, I was seated in Row G witnessing a performance by The Bacon Brothers.
The Bacon Brothers (in case you are unaware) are a musical group/partnership between the actor Kevin Bacon and his older brother, film-composer Michael Bacon. The Bacon Brothers have been an active group since 1995. I was aware of their existence, but I’d be lying if I said I have been steadily paying attention to it. I knew bits and pieces of their work, but I really didn’t know what to expect in regards to their live performance.
I was also surprised to find out they were doing a concert that was a five-minute drive from my house. The performance took place at The Kent Stage, located in Kent, Ohio. It is a modest and intimate venue, with excellent acoustics and an enthusiastic staff. The show was on a Saturday night, and I had no plans set in stone, so I felt this would be an excellent prospect to educate myself about this group in the most natural method of presentation. Additionally, I genuinely enjoy shooting live concert photography, and I prefer doing so at events that aren’t in a football stadium (hence the accompanying photographs).
Considering I had minimal knowledge of the band, I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if it would be a stripped-down acoustic performance with just the two of them or if they have a backing ensemble in tow. I really went into this considerably blind, and it has been quite a while since I had been to a concert wherein I was there strictly for the sense of discovery.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I witnessed that night. They did have an entire backing band (all accomplished musicians), and the performance was very upbeat, and the musicianship on stage was precise and proficient.
One aspect I noticed within the first few songs is that there was something about the tone that was very evocative of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Despite the comparison, I am not asserting that The Bacon Brothers’ music was identical to The Heartbreakers, but that there is an audible influence present. The influence mostly came down to the sound of the music itself, and not the vocals. Both of the Bacon Brothers have much better vocals than the late Tom Petty, and they sound even better when they harmonize. Kevin is the stronger vocalist out of the two, but Michael is the stronger musician. After the comparison of the Heartbreakers crossed my mind, coincidentally they introduced a song that was called “Tom Petty T-Shirt.” The song chronicles a story about the protagonist’s love interest, and her wearing of his old ratty concert t-shirt, by none other than Tom Petty. So the evident influence wasn’t just my imagination. They make no bones about being fans of Petty and pay homage to him in a reverent way.
The Bacons had some story-telling banter in-between their songs. Nothing too lengthy, but humble and gave explanations as to what inspired them to create the various songs they have written. Some tales hearkened back to their childhood, others about experiences in their adult lives and careers. One story, in particular, that had me laughing was a story about a song called “Beneath Perfection.” Apparently, they composed this song with the idea of it being in an official score to a film that Kevin was starring in. However, the dilemma was the fact that Hollywood just doesn’t work that way (despite Kevin’s lead role, and having a complete composition ready-to-go). The music had to be shelved because it definitely wasn’t going to be used in the film (but was released later on). The way Kevin describes this situation makes you think that the song was going to be aimed at a dramatic film, with emotional depth. The comical caveat was when he said it was supposed to be for the film Tremors. If anyone has ever watched that film, you know right away that is a storyline that has no impassioned profundity to it (despite that, I still love that movie!).
I can’t help but mention another humorous observation about this particular show. I am not sure if this is the same situation in every city they tour in, but they definitely attracted a lot of horny post-menopausal women at this show. I was sitting back wondering if they were going to start flinging their panties at them (much like a Tom Jones show). Watching that sort of audience reaction alone is well worth attending just for that sort of unintentional comedy. I can’t deny it though, Kevin Bacon is a very handsome man, and is aging incredibly well. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t silently gawk at him. The Bacon Brothers wrapped up their set catered towards their lascivious female fans. They did so with a cover of Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That,” truly being ‘Heartbreakers’ to those revved up matrons. It didn’t just end there altogether, as there was one encore. That encore (for those that stuck around) was another roundhouse kick to those overly excited gals, by properly doing a cover of Kenny Loggins “Footloose.” A perfect ending as we all know that was the film that genuinely gave Kevin Bacon enough notoriety to be Six Degrees Separated from everyone.
August 17, 2019 at The Kent Stage, Kent Ohio
Photos and Text: Julie Finley
For those interested in catching The Bacon Brothers on their current tour (known as The Shaky Ground tour), they are playing at these remaining dates:
|September 15, 2019||KAABOO Del Mar||Del Mar, CA|
|September 19-20, 2019||Sony Hall||New York, NY|
|September 21, 2019||The Ridgefield Playhouse||Ridgefield, CT|
|October 3-4, 2019||The Franklin Theatre||Franklin, TN|
|October 5, 2019||Grand Theatre||Frankfort, KY|
|October 7, 2019||Gillioz Theatre||Springfield, MO|
|October 8, 2019||The Folly Theater||Kansas City, MO|
|October 10, 2019||Gruene Music & Wine Festival||New Braunfels, TX|
|October 11, 2019||Billy Bob’s Texas||Fort Worth, TX|
|October 12, 2019||Cactus Theater||Lubbock, TX|