Friday, October 08, 2004

LIVE: Jurado/Buckner/Dolorean

This is the show that I referred to being so excited about in my last post: Damien Jurado, Richard Buckner and Dolorean at the Magic Stick. I was really only expecting Jurado and Buckner but on the day of the show I noticed Dolorean had been added onto the bill since the last time I had looked at the Magic Stick's webpage. That totally made my day right there. If you have not yet heard Dolorean's Not Exotic album from late last year, you absolutely must. They've also just released a new album (Violence in the Snowy Fields), and after listening to it almost ten times through already I can say that's it's on the same level of greatness as Not Exotic. I wanted to grab the vinyl version off the merch table so bad. 'Course, I wanted a couple t-shirts, too - well, pretty much everything there, so I had to exercise some discretionary spending measures. Actually, it was pretty much just that I was low on of cash after buying 2 tickets and a bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican lager.

Anyway, on to the music.
Dolorean got things started with a set of about 9 or 10 songs, I'd estimate. Some from the old one, some from the new one. All fantastic, especially "Hannibal, MO". I totally wish they could've played longer since there were even more songs that I would've liked to hear live (i.e. - "Dying in Time"). I expressed my lament over this to lead singer Al James after his set and he was right there with me on that. He would've loved to play longer, too. Except, as he explained, it was an all ages show so everything had to be over by 12 o'clock, which meant all of their sets had to be trimmed down a tad to accomodate everyone on the bill.
Anyway, I had a 15-20 minute conversation with Al, who I gotta say is one cool, down-to-earth guy. Not many people can leave that kind of impression on me after such a brief encounter. He's really cool. We talked about how his tour has been going, playing with Damien and Richard, fundamentalist universities (I won't name any names) and their counterproductive methods, and our mutual friend Kaleb Gay of Slightly Confusing to a Stranger-fame. Kaleb has had a big hand in co-releasing Dolorean and Holy Sons' brand new split 7". I, of course, put down the $5 for my own hand numbered (out of 500) copy of that 7", and it's beautiful. Great job on the packaging and the translucent green vinyl, Kaleb. You did a nice job on this. You shouldn't have much trouble getting someone else to ask you to do their release(s) after this. And, duh, let's not forget that the songs on it are just awesome, too.
Anyone who wants a copy of this, they're selling them at shows on this tour (obviously), but you can also get one straight from Kaleb.

After my chat with Al, I found my seat again so I could take in Richard Buckner. I liked him. It was my first time ever hearing anything by him so it was a little hard to get into only because I didn't know any songs or anything. But I was still intrigued by his playing. And he did this really cool thing where there were no breaks in between songs. He would blend them all together using this technique where he'd record like 4 seconds of something he was playing at the end of the song, loop it through his delay pedal or something like that, and then, while that was repeating, he'd add a layer over that and slowly traverse into the next song. It was pretty rad and has to be seen yourself to understand how cool it was. I especially appreciated his use of the e-bow. I'm a sucker for e-bow.

And then, of course, there was Jurado. What can be said about him? I mean, other than the fact that he's easily in the upper echelon of storytelling songwriters out there today. The guy is amazing and there's no doubt in my mind why he's been around so long doing the same thing in just slightly different ways, managing to be consistently solid and simultaneously fresh and relevant. His vocals, albeit a little unorthodox, are incredible to witness live. Just the little nuances and flourishes he throws into the mix - going from ever so soft to just a little louder or shaky or hollow - add something spectacular to the mood and feelings he's expressing through the song or one moment in the story. And what I liked was that his performances of his material were different from how the songs sound on his records. It makes a live performance a lot more interesting when an artist does that. Among the many songs Jurado played were "Medication" from Ghost of David and "Ohio" and "Tragedy" off of Rehearsals for Departure, so I was a happy man.

If this tour is coming to your neck of the woods, I'd really encourage you to get out of the house and be there. Get a cup of coffee, as there is the danger of induced slumber. I was able to stay glued to the music without caffeine, but some might need it. That's a little inside joke for the company my wife and I had during the show. Oh, and here's another one: It's Damien Jurado, not Richard Ashcroft - just wanted to clear that up.


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