News Column

Hugh Laurie and The Copper Bottom Band to perform L.A., Riverside

May 28, 2014

By Mariecar Mendoza, Daily News, Los Angeles



May 28--Hugh Laurie plans to bring down the house, but not as "House," the doctor he played on television many fans grew to love and hate.

Instead, the multi-instrumental musician is going to flex his skills on stage in a different way tonight at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, backed by The Copper Bottom Band, made up of David Piltch (bass), Vincent Henry (horns), Elizabeth Lea (trombone), Jean McClain (vocals), Gaby Moreno (vocals), Herman Matthews (drums) and Mark Goldenberg (guitar).

Laurie and The Copper Bottom Band also plan to stop in Los Angeles on Monday to perform at the Fonda Theatre.

His tour, which has already taken him through Canada, Australia and several American states so far, is in support of his sophomore album with Warner Bros. Records titled "Didn't It Rain." It was recorded at Ocean Way Studio in Los Angeles as a follow-up to his 2011 debut album, "Let Them Talk."

"It's such a great adventure," Laurie said in a recent interview as he rolled into rainy Seattle on his tour bus. "Close to 10 years I spent in the U.S., but basically spent every day in a large, dark ship with no windows, seeing almost nothing of this country. So now to be able to travel and go to places I haven't been before is just a thrill."

The England-born part-time American resident came to stardom as a comedian back in the mid-1980s as half of the U.K. act, "Fry and Laurie" with Stephen Fry. But it wasn't until he took on the role of the prickly, medical genius known as Dr. Gregory House on the Fox television series, "House," did he become a household name in the United States.

Laurie received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards and six Emmy nominations during his near decade-long career as House on the series, which aired from 2004 to 2012. Laurie said he still has fans calling him House, which can be a peculiar thing when performing shows.

"It's kind of odd at a music show because it's a pretty different thing that I'm doing," he said, laughing. "I think to begin with, there were a lot of people who -- just out of plain curiosity -- wanted to check it out and was like 'What the hell is going on here?' I think the first round of shows the audience came thinking this can't work."

Now a hundred concerts later and a second album out in stores, Laurie performs in front of packed venues where "more and more we are getting audiences who come because to some degree they're influenced and touched by the same music that I'm touched by," he said.

Among Laurie's influences include W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton as well as Bessie Smith, which has resulted in two albums with twangy, jazzed-up blues that you can only image echoes through Bourbon Street in New Orleans and other historically soulful sites that gave birth to so many musical moments.

From performing duets with McClain and Moreno to giving Lea room to "really let rip" on the trombone, Laurie said his shows are quite an experience.

"I'm really proud of what we're doing and the shows that we've done. I want it to be a piece of theater and not just a recital, which I think is a common thing for some bands and musicians," he said. "I look to do something more theatrical, something that's more of that a revue feeling, with some showmanship. I hope it's funny, I hope it's sad, dark and dramatic at times. I hope it makes people do everything -- laugh, cry, dance, all those things. I hope all human life is there."

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(c)2014 the Daily News (Los Angeles)

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