Singer and songwriter Chuck Prophet said on Twitter the other day that “touring is like summer camp in bars.” If that’s true, Prophet was that cool camp counselor everyone wants to be like when he played Wednesday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven.
Backed by a killer band, the San Francisco rock ‘n’ roll veteran grabbed tightly to the packed-in audience for a 70-plus minute set, and didn’t let go until that last sweaty chord had faded out. Prophet focused on his latest album, “Temple Beautiful,” a collection of songs paying tribute to San Francisco.
Prophet was at once amped-up and easygoing, bopping around the tight stage as he alternated between microphones (one clean, one dirty) and strummed away on a cream-colored Telecaster. His Bay-area homage extended beyond his own repertoire with a cover of the Flamin’ Groovies “Take Some Action.” Prophet followed that with “You Could Make a Doubter Out of Jesus,” a song jammed with ripples of tremolo guitar and layers of wary vocals.
His conversational asides were as engaging as the songs. Looking out over the crowd at one point, he remarked on the salt-of-the-earth tableau.
“Last night was a little bourgeois for me,” he said. “Tonight I see a lot of roofers. And lovers.”
All those lovers loved him right back, clamoring for more after the main set ended. Prophet and the band obliged with a two-song encore that include a fired-up version of the dark, sultry “You Did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp),” which appeared on an episode of HBO’s vampire bodice-ripper show “True Blood.”
The Paul Collins Beat opened the show.
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