The BellRays at the Empty Bottle

Soul music and R&B are alive well these days, not because of the usual slickly produced fare you hear on the radio, but because of rawer, back-to-basics acts like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the Detroit Cobras and the BellRays. The BellRays put on a lively performance before a small crowd (about 50 or so, not pathetic, but they deserved a bigger audience), with lead singer Lisa Kekaula exhorting everyone to dance and holler. The BellRays play a mix of soul with some hard-rock or garage-rock guitars. I like their new album Have a Little Faith pretty well, but it all sounded better in concert. SEE PHOTOS OF THE BELLRAYS.

The opening acts were Bottles of Wine (who did not leave much of an impression on me… reasonably well-played but not very interesting blues) and SSM. I’m not sure what to make of SSM. The guitar-keyboard-drums trio had a pretty good sound, but the songs didn’t stick with me. SEE PHOTOS OF SSM.