Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Great American Show...

So last night I went to see Richard Buckner and Damien Jurado at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall. I really went to see Buckner, of whom I'm a big fan, but Jurado really blew me away. Jurado's a pretty big man, tall and large boned but the keen that came out of his mouth at times was heartstopping. In fact the first time he let out this mid range moan, his head back and mouth wide open, I thought the sound was coming from someone in the audience. I had to look twice to make sure it was him. Jurado plays desolate folk songs, sometimes just him and his guitar, other times backed by a very capable 3 piece band. His stories are about the down and out, the heartbroken, the detritus of tenderness we so often miss and the chunks of denied happiness that we tend to pay so much attention to. It's a similar territory as Buckner, but instead of using Buckner's almost imaginistic lyrics (it often feels like he's made up half the words in his songs, sometimes to great effect, other times leading to much head scratching) Jurado's language is very matter of fact. I wouldn't call Jurado's words literary in the sense of a band like Enablers but more in the vein of classic folk singers like Dylan and Nick Drake.

I found Buckner's set a bit disappointing. He's touring alone and uses a series of digital loopers to instantly record a riff he's playing, loop it, then pick up another instrument, create a new noise, loop that, pick up another instrument and start playing a song. The use of technology is kinda cool, but I don't feel like it serves his songs very well. Add that to the fact that Buckner seemed, at best, disinterested in the show at times and I was left feeling underwhelmed. Many of Buckner's older songs (off Bloomed, Devotion and Doubt and Since) were given short thrift. Buckner seemd to be trying to reconfigure songs like "Gauzy Dress in the Sun," "Song of 27," either that or he was showing his disdain for his older material. He did a breathy mumble on a lot of the older stuff, completely losing alot of the melody that made the songs so striking in the first place. If he's uninterested in his older material I certainly don't begrudge him that, but if that's the case I don't think he should play it. The show wasn't without some striking moments. Buckner's encore of "Souvenir" was excellent, as was his take on the usually acapella "Fater". Ultimately the show just lacked the charismatic energy that I've come to expect from a Buckner show and that lack of energy was in stark relief to the amazing job that Jurado did.

So today we celebrate Jurado with two songs. 1 from his 2000 album "Ghost of David":

Johnny Go Riding

And 1 song from his most recent album on Secretly Canadian "Where Shall You Take Me":

Texas to Ohio

Buy Damien Jurado stuff here


Blogger gwadzilla said...

earlier this week my mother had a little email discussion
she felt that I was exposing my son to too many adult ideas
we watch movies such as Star Wars together as well as have adult discussions and attempt to make adult deals with promises and compromise
with all of this I may have forgotten that Dean is only 3 years old
so last night I thought I would try to recapture his youth and put in a kids video
we watched a Maurice Sendak WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
the video takes all these great kids books and translates them to VIDEO form
on top of all that...
the soundtrack/story is sung by Carole King!
it rocks
so last night the whole family was bouncing on the couch singing along to these songs to which we did not know all the words
it was great to see 9 month old Grant bouncing up and down
and for Dean to be doing something other than wielding a sword or pointing a gun

Carole King Rocks!

11:10 AM  

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