Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bright Eyes @ Radio City Music Hall - Nov 19, 2007

What is simple in the moonlight by the morning never is

I have a mixed appreciation of Bright Eyes. I recently started liking Conor Oberst's music a lot (starting with his new release Cassadaga and now prefering I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning) and decided to buy a ticket to go to see him at a big venue like Radio City, even though I don't enjoy places like that anymore. What really got me into Bright Eyes' music were Conor's voice, his lyrics and the way he sings them, more than the melody of his songs, so a show in a huge place with a sound system destroying his deliver most of the time and a guitar too often too loud was quite a let down. Having so many fans, with Bright Eyes there's no escape and I don't think there will be. What's gonna be next? Madison Square Garden? Unless they have an exclusive show at Bowery Ballroom and I happen to score a ticket without investing all my salary on it, this might have been the first and the last time that I get to see them then. So where are the mixed feelings? Since I came back from the show on Monday, I haven't been able to stop playing the only two albums I have by them, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Cassadaga. They keep getting better and better in my headphones... during the show I don't know what happened but some of these songs were just plain boring to hear them live. Was it really the venue's size what didn't let me appreciate the show? or actually Bright Eyes is just boring sometimes?

Conor showed up dressing like one of the thousands of fans waiting for him, not in white as everybody expected, and with shorter hair than what I'd seen recently advertised on the web. He grabbed his acoustic guitar, put his knees together leaving some space between his feet and started a show with a ferocious Another Traveling Song. Taking about ferocious, have you seen him spitting? Man, he almost does it as many times as Cole, of the Black Lips fame... good that his band mates don't mind it cause the guy's spit sometimes flies way too long.

Well, I think a found the reason. I just found a set list of the show over the comments in Brooklynvegan and it's helping me to understand why I was spacing out most of the show. Here it is:

Another Traveling Song
Four Winds
We Are Nowhere And Its Now
You Will
Arc Of Time
Method Acting
Spring Cleaning
If The Brakeman Turns My Way
Bowl Of Oranges
Poison Oak
Old Soul Song
A Song To Pass The Time
Lover I Dont Have To Love
Blue Walls (Tom Petty Cover)
Rosevelts Room

Ten of his sixteen songs are not on the only two albums I have, which are presumably his two best ones. Are the other albums he has that good and representative of his music to him that he decides to use some songs from those as the heart of his show? Anyways, he lost me right there for at least 30 minutes of those ten songs. I can only give a personal opinion, as someone who doesn't really know this artist: the show wasn't great. In fact, forgetting how much I like the original six songs that I knew, and considering that I go to tons of shows where I have no idea of the music I am about to hear, I think it wasn't good overall, even considering what I am experiencing right now, which is that Oberst's music is on the grower side. I did enjoy those six songs tho, especially Poison Oak, but it was because I did like them already, not because it was particularly special to hear them live.

You know what? I'm just very confused or just very upset that he didn't play First Day of My Life, a song that after playing and playing it so many times these days still gives me chills. Truth is, I shouldn't have started writing this... it went and it's going nowhere. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Bright Eyes links: Stream Cassadaga, Live at KCRW, Official Website, YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Brightest Diamond @ Gramercy Theatre - Nov 17, 2007

The 11 finger tour

I still remember how impressed I was with Shara Worden and her band My Brightest Diamond back when I saw her for the first time during CMJ 2006. She had recently put out her excellent debut album Bring Me the Workhorse, showed us how amazingly she can control her voice and how good she is at the guitar. Last night she excelled at all those things one more time and even showed us how to dance.

I got late to the show. I usually do not talk about shows I don't see in its entirety, but I am going to make an exception here. I hope I didn't miss either the best or the worst part tho, cause I don't want to give wrong impressions, but what I saw were 40 minutes of pure magic made a woman playing guitar, with cool hairstyle, a dress made by the 11 finger dresser and a killer band including a full string section with a couple of energetic bass and drum players.

Shara Worden's voice is classically trained and she is very smart for matching it with the kind of rock she plays. Or it might be the other way around tho, since she is so skilled. Her music, to me, is like a mix of indie rock, opera and sometimes even soft metal, but you gotta see her to get the full effect and fall in love forever not only with her music and voice, but actually with her. In one of those moments between songs she told us that her tour mate, Tim Fite, who I unfortunately missed, named the tour as the 11 finger tour because her dress looked like a regular dress made by a person with eleven fingers. It was because of that eleven finger that her dress looked like one with little things here and there. Cute, but now that I think about it I don't remember seeing anything particularly strange on her dress. In fact I don't think I even looked at her dress... I just looked at her smile.

My Brightest Diamond played Bring Me the Workhorse almost in its enterity, including the beautiful Something of an End, Golden Star, Dragon Fly, We Were Sparkling, Magic Rabbit and Dissappear, plus a very good new song, a cover of a Jeff Buckley's song (it was his birthday), and a killer encore with a song in French. Did you know that Shara released an album with remixes of Bring me the Workhorse called Tear it Down? After seeing her for the second time, it was obvious how Shara has been letting some other music genres to relax her music and sometimes even not only highlight its beauty but make it a lot of fun. Dissappear is the best example. After an excellent interpretation, her band kept playing the song while Shara put her guitar aside, faced us all from the center of the stage for two seconds with a look of warn, and started moving like the best dancer Missy Elliott is gonna hire for her next video. Oliver, one of the guys playing strings, joined her and they pretty much gave us fire.

Shara, please keep them coming like that cause I got hooked one more time. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

My Brightest Diamond links: Stream Bring Me the Workhorse, Live at SXSW 2007, Official website, MySpace, At Asthmatic Records, At Daytrotter

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Marissa Nadler @ Whitney Museum - Nov 16, 2007


Here I am again with an incomplete review... I got late to the Whitney Museum to hear the velveteen voice of Marissa Nadler. I missed a good half of her show, but thanks to YouTube now I can not only imagine how beautiful she sounded. Here it is one of those songs that I missed accompanied by Myles Baer in theremin.

Marissa Nadler - 55 Falls

I only know her recent album, Songs III: Bird on Water, and here it is one of the stand out tracks on that album (there are plenty):

Marissa Nadler - Rachel

Anyway, I definitely missed those two songs cause I do not remember Myles Baer helping with theremin but adding some bass guitar. But, what I did not miss was a perfect amalgamation of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire with Townes Van Zandt's Tecumseh Valley and her own song My Little Lark (from The Saga of Mayflower).

Marissa Nadler - I'm on Fire (Original by Bruce Springsteen) / Tecumseh Valley (Original by Townes Van Zandt) / My Little Lark

I promise I will be on time next time. [photos of the show]

Marissa Nadler links: Stream two songs at Kemado Records, Interviewed by Stereogum, At Daytrotter, Official website, MySpace, Wikipedia

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jens Lekman at Webster Hall / Music Hall of Williamsburg - Oct 27/28, 2007

Sipping on the Sweet Nectar

It's been two weeks since I went to see The Go! Team and fall in love with Jens Lekman. I went to the city to see The Go! Team after having dinner with some friends, but things didn't happen as planned. My friends wanted to go to the Blue Man Show, which I couldn't afford because it was 80 bucks, and meanwhile I decided to check out a guy called Jens Lekman who was going to play Webster Hall for only 20. In fact, I ended up getting in for free and being blown away by Lekman's charisma , music and voice.

Jens took the stage with a six girl band and one DJ all dressed in white with Jens looking particularly like a chef about to season our hearts. He plays guitar and sings with a very romantic baritone, the girls play different instruments, including saxo, accordion, trumpet, violins and drums, and the DJ is there to sample live all those samples Jens has included in his recordings. I didn't know his music much, except a couple of songs from his new album, but I felt like I had heard his music all my life before. I don't mean that like some people accuse him, of being just a guy ripping off people's stuff, but I do mean it in the sense that it was so comfortable listening to him that it felt like his music had been with me all the time and I instantaneously wanted to enjoy it. Now, I can't stop listening to his excellent new album Night Falls Over Kortedala and his very good compilation of EPs called Oh You're So Silent Jens.

In fact, I liked him so much that when I got home and started listening to the album I bought, I found out he was playing again the next day at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as a solo show. A funny guy, with music that makes me feel warm in these soon to be very cold nights? Of course I had to see him again.

His cool personality was on hand again in Brooklyn for a crowd that had to be full of good fans, as I noticed how everybody knew all his songs in detail. They were pretty much filling in his songs the sampled chorus he didn't completely have that night. He almost played solo, except for some help from his drummer playing the bongos, some backing vocals coming from an iPod, and a loop pedal he admitted not to be an Andrew Bird kind of expert with it. If he was awesome at Webster Hall, he was even awesomer at Music Hall. Jens played more songs, took requests from the public, played a couple of covers including You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon, and was as hilarious as I expected him to be, again.

My favorite song of the whole weekend was A Postcard to Nina (with Pocketful of Money very very close), which is on Night Falls Over Kortedala. Jens introduces that song so well live that every time I listen to it on my CD player, without the intro, I wish I could hear him again talking about him visiting Germany, going to an awkward dinner and feeling his dad's friend's drunk breath way too close. It would have been your favorite song I am sure. But my favorite moment of the weekend didn't happen at Webster Hall, nor at Music Hall. It happened on the roof of 151 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn NY, an address I will hardly forget. After Jens finished his set the second time I saw him during the weekend, he went over to a fan's building to play some more songs while over viewing the city. I didn't really appreciate I had a great view from this guy's roof, because who would be looking at something different from Jens?, but I did enjoy his voice and company while eating some pizza and having some beers his fans kindly brought to share with everybody else. Oh man, it would have been your favorite moment of the weekend I am sure too.

Jens opens his mouth, says whatever, or even just without saying anything but smiling, and everybody follows laughing/smiling. That's how a Jens Lekman's show is. Awesome! I am sure because of him there were new couples in town those nights, new friends (I made one), and lots of people went home with a smile of their own to dream.

So yeah, that was it. I had an unforgettable weekend with Jens Lekman. How was yours? [photos of the show @ Webster Hall][photos of the show @ Music Hall of Williamsburg]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?