Photos and Words by HARRIET KAPLAN
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Joe Sumner performed an intimate and unadorned set of music at Hotel Cafe for an enthusiastic crowd of fans.
Sumner, the former Fiction Plane vocalist, premiered new, original material and performed his Record Store Day vinyl single “Hope,” at the Hollywood venue Saturday night in one of the first shows since pandemic restrictions lifted.
The music brought back tones of Fiction Plane, his band which opened for The Police on the reunion tour in 2007. Sumner is the son of the former Police lead singer and prolific solo artist and bassist Sting.
The songs Sumner selected for his Cafe performance leaned towards sentimental, tender, and had a yearning quality to them. They were also quirky and offbeat. The new numbers struck a universal chord that anyone can relate to. He also did a few cover songs including David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” a classic holdover from his front man gig at a number of high-profile Mike Garson-led David Bowie band shows.
The brief yet engaging set was marked by Sumner’s gregarious personality. He was warm, funny and made a few casual random asides during the show. One was about David Chapelle who performed there the night before.
Sumner mentioned there were a lot of cigarette butts around stage floor. He also said he was happy to be performing before an audience again. While garbed smartly, his attire was outshone as he also wore a big beaming smile while entertaining and playing passionately.
Sumner’s positive and upbeat energy was really contagious. It seemed to bounce off the crowd of fans gathered inside the Main Stage. Everyone was having a great time enjoying the experience of seeing live music and being back in the scene.