Saturday, February 21, 2009

Antony & the Johnsons @ Town Hall - Fri Feb 20, 2009

(Note: I wasn't gonna write anything about this show, given that I saw Antony recently, but it was so moving I couldn't keep it to myself)

Wow. This was even better than Antony's previous show with orchestra at the Apollo Theater. Antony's voice was exceptional, as always, and The Johnsons sounded phenomenal as well. Excellent set list, nice pacing, just perfection all over. Kiss My Name was my favorite one last night... it sounded so alive. I got the shivers, as always, when Antony sang his classics For Today I Am A Boy (which had quite an smart introduction about going back home to San Jose and seeing so many changes in subculture) and You Are My Sister, and I was really happy they played Shake the Devil, one of my favorite songs from last year. After seeing the set list I was also a bit bummed because apparently they were going to come back for a second encore, to play my fave song (Daylight & the Sun) from their fantastic new album The Crying Light, but people didn't clap enough :-/ Next time!

M. Ward @ Apollo Theater - Thu Feb 19, 2008

Rave On

I am finishing my dissertation this year. I am exhausted most of the time, because I gotta work hard to finish on time and don't like the idea of not going out and keep having fun, so that being said, I am really surprised I didn't fall sleep two nights ago when I saw M. Ward playing most of his new album Hold Time plus some of his oldies and covers.

I am a fan of the new album. It doesn't reach of the addictiveness his previous masterpiece Post-War reached with me, but still it has been on constant rotation on my iPod, car and stereo at home, especially when I am working on that dissertation to get done.

M. Ward came out solo with his acoustic guitar to a dark stage with a window view in the back announcing the night has just started. He started with the song that titles his new album, and of course it was beautiful. His band quickly joined him and they played Lullabye + Exile and the crowd favorite Chinese Translation. With that out of the way, he went back to hold some more time for us... firs on the guitar with Epistemology and then on the piano for the wonderful To Save Me. One of my very favorite songs from Post-War was played that night. It's the song that titles that album. Post-War doesn't expose M. Ward's virtuosity on the guitar, but his warm vocals, and with a supporting live band so-delicate-when-it-must-be like the one he has right now, the song made my eyes to water.

The night went on and M. Ward's guitar shined on Fisher of Men even more than the fireflies that started showing up through the window. His vocals sounded great again for his cover of Oh Lonesome Me (no Lucinda Williams) and so did the band for the Never Had Nobody Like You (no Zooey Deschanel).

For being tired I remember a lot, don't I? He played more songs from Post-War, including Poison Cup and my very favorite ones Magic Trick and his cover of Daniel Johnston's To Go Home, the new Rave On, which sounded ridiculously good live with a full band, Vincent O'Brien, another crowd favorite from Transfiguration of Vincent, and a couple of covers that I do not know apparently just because I didn't grow up here.

M. Ward might be the only artist playing countryish music that can keep me awake for seventeen or so songs. It was a good show but not everything was great. I have a couple of complains even though I was to tired to be too bothered about them. No Stars of Leo? Come on! That's the best song on Hold Time! And what's wrong with the speakers at the Apollo Theater? [photos of the show]


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

M. Ward Links: Stream Hold Time, Stream Post-War, Official Website, Wikipedia, MySpace, at Merge Records