Eli 'Paperboy' Reed

SXSW showcase reviews

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Photo by Aubrey Edwards

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed

Club de Ville, Thursday, March 13

With Amy Winehouse's Grammy nod and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings suddenly garnering crossover appeal, 2008 is shaping up as the year retro soul goes pop. So far, soul and funk of the throwback variety have been dominated by the ladies, but Eli "Paperboy" Reed could buck that trend. The blue-eyed soul sensation and his sevenpiece True Loves delivered a monster set of set of old-school R&B to a foot-loose crowd Thursday night at Club de Ville. The 24-year-old Allston, Mass., native opened with horn-driven burner "Stake Your Claim" from the forthcoming Roll With You, due out in late April on Q Division Records. At his best, the bourbon-sipping, guitar-strumming soul shouter sounds like Wilson Pickett reincarnate, down to the signature punctuating howl. Even the bravado of Pickett's "A Man and a Half" is rivaled by "The Satisfier," a scorching burst of R&B bravado. It's not all high-energy shouting, though, as Reed, sporting a stuffy brown suit and Beaver Cleaver hairdo, deftly cooled the crowd with sweet soul ballad "She Walks." The band more than lived up to the "aw-shucks" understatement of the night when Reed coyly pronounced, "We're gonna do our best to play some music that'll make you feel good."

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