In the past 2 months I’ve seen more shows than I’d seen in the past 2 years (maybe longer). Part of it is the fact that some of my favorite artists have been touring – both Robyn Hitchcock and The Wedding Present have been touring recently. Part of it is just a desire to fight the move toward middle age.
Robyn Hitchcock did an all-request solo show. He was in great spirits, clearly enjoying himself and the interaction with the crowd, and he closed the show with a stroll through the crowd performing a medley (Staying Alive and Listening to the Higsons are two songs I recall). Hitchcock’s been performing since the late 70’s and clearly loves what he’s doing…even more impressive given that he’s been doing it for nearly 30 years now. (He did mention repeatedly that one of his musical heroes, Bob Dylan, was also playing Chicago that weekend, and that we should all try to see him if we could.)
The Wedding Present reformed earlier this year to release Take Fountain – though this is really mainly a name change, dropping the Cinerama moniker. They played a tight set spanning the entire TWP catalog (early standouts included Once More, which was my introduction to TWP way back when, and My Favorite Dress). Only a handful of Cinerama songs, which was fine with me, as they’ve quite a catalog to pull from. Gedge still strums his guitar at breakneck speed, and Simon Cleave has returned to contribute his own ferocity to their sound.
More recently, I caught the charming Australian pop trio The Lucksmiths here in GR. I’d heard good things about them, but never heard them, so, given the price was right (FREE!), I put the kids to bed then headed out to catch their set…and I’m glad I did. They were playing in the small auditorium of a local bookstore (normally used for readings, the auditorium had surprisingly good acoustics). The Lucksmiths play charming, gentle pop (bordering on twee, for those that know the term). Clever, witty, and heartfelt lyrics add to the charm. Effectively a trio (though they had a 2nd guitarist along for this tour), the vocalist also drums, playing a very stripped down kit (snare, tom, hi-hat and crash cymbals), and plays standing up, up front. I chatted with the band after the show (as well as picking up a copy of their latest release, Warmer Corners) and found them to be very friendly, down-to-earth guys. Which just adds to the charm.
Next up are The Decemberists who are playing here in GR tonight. Playing quirky, hyper-literate pop music (for instance, the opening song, The Infanta, off their most recent record uses the word “palanquin”, which prompted Melissa Block of NPR’s All Things Considered to admit she’d had to look the word up in a recent interview with Decemberists front man, Colin Melloy). Given their penchant for theatrical lyrics, I expect this should be an excellent show.
Other upcoming shows – The Pernice Brothers have a new record out next month; the tracks they have streaming on their website sound excellent. They’ll be touring in support of this record, and I’m going to do my best to make it to one of the shows when they do.
I’d love to see the Eels in support of their new double-LP, but it seems both the Chicago and Detroit dates are sold out. Sigh.
What’s this all about? I don’t know, but I’m having a good time. Even if I am tired.music
Please excuse the mess around here - someday I hope to have the time and inclination to actually make this site something more than the trainwreck that it currently is...but today is not that day.of recent disinterest