Thursday, January 05, 2006

Songwriters on Parade

Multiple-act music tours tend to be lame. Sure, I went to Lilith Fair with a girlfriend once, but they're mostly a waste of time. There's one on the horizon, though, that might be pretty good -- Mark Eitzel, David Bazan, Vic Chesnutt and Will Johnson are hitting the road, sharing the stage, taking turns playing a couple of songs at a time, and then concluding with a flurry of covers (presumably of each other's songs).

I bought a couple of records by Eitzel's band, American Music Club, back in college, but they -- and my familiarity with them -- got lost somewhere along the way. Bazan is better known as Pedro the Lion and, although I'm pretty sure his songs are gently meant to make me accept Jesus as my savior, he's a talented guy. ("Guy," "false Messiah," whatever.) Vic Chesnutt -- well, I know he's talented, but it's hard for me to judge him dispassionately. Along with a friend, I saw him open for Live in college (comments making fun of me for seeing Live can be made directly below), and it was hard to concentrate on his music. He was lifted onto the stage in his wheelchair, fluttering his arms to simulate flying, and then launched into one of the darkest, most misanthropic, clenched sets I've ever seen. He made the audience want to...what's the opposite of dancing?

The key for me is Johnson, who I've raved about before. He's the leader of my favorite Texas band, Centro-matic, and it's always a treat to see him perform.

On February 13, the tour -- dubbed the "Undertow Orchestra" for some reason -- comes to the best venue in New York City.

It's stopping in Texas for three nights later that month, in Denton, Austin, and Houston -- probably partly because Johnson is a Lone Star resident, but also because Texas has a pretty cool music scene. The point being: Check it out if you can.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dread Pirate said...

Chesnutt can be an acquired taste for sure but I saw him in a small setting at the Gypsy Tea Room on my birthday one year - I love his shit and his music has only gotten better as he ages. That might be one concert I could be talked into going to.

Don't forget to tell your fine readers that you also saw Better Than Ezra at Trees as well. You are as they say - a gay homo.

1:34 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Don't forget Fatima Mansions. Of course, all of these bands we're naming were opening for other bands, so it wasn't totally our fault. But kind of.

And be careful Dread Pirate -- my liberal buddies might get the wrong idea and not realize that you're actually on the front lines of fighting for gay rights in the Metroplex.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

It's good that you pointed that out, as libs have no sense of humor.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chesnutt - known to my only through the way other bads religiously over him.

Blogger, will you take comfort in the fact that I too saw Live in concert (on my campus) in college? That was a few weeks before Matthew Sweet came to campus, and even though he was performing with a stomach virus that made him even waner than usual, his show was (it goes without saying) nine million times better than Live's. -- tavia

8:44 PM  

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