• Rufus at the Avalon, Boston MA

    Ago 22 2007, 14:35

    Tue 21 Aug – Rufus Wainwright, Magic Numbers, A Fine Frenzy

    Again, another first show for me and another grand slam. Rufus Wainwright and his full eight piece band put on a thoroughly enjoyable night, full of big band jams, solo voice and piano songs, voice overs provided by audience members, and even a drag show! He played every song from the Release The Stars, plus some added pluses from both Want One, Want Two. His voice was spot on, but what else can you expect from Rufus? And the presnece he has onstage is just uncanny. From the first song straight on through, Rufus would stare intently out at the audience and then suddenly become so enthralled by the music, he would close his eyes and point his head towards the heavens. The whole show, you knew he was feeling every single word he sang completely. And the man is just ridiculously talented. Seriously. There are few artists out there who can even come close to the music he writes. Great, great, great night.

    Highlights were actually mostly from Want One: 14th Street, Beautiful Child, and I Don't Know What It Is. And from Release the Stars: Slideshow, Between My Legs, and Release The Stars. But, like for any truly amazing show, I really want to write EVERY song as a hgighlight!!!

    And a quick note on Rufus's costume changes. He began the show in a white suit embellished with rhinestone bling EVERYWHERE. I was thinking that he could not get anymore fabulous. But then he appears for the second set in his custom made leiderhosen. I don't think I've ever used the word sexy to describe leiderhosen before, but it was more than appropriate here. And finally for the encore, Rufus plays the first three songs in a white plush bathrobe while we in the audience are just DYING to see what's underneath. As he transitions to the next song, we wait patiently as he sits in a chair at the edge of the stage and dons two fabulously sparkly earrings and the reddest lipstick you have ever seen. Then his band, who are all now in black suits with pink shirts, help Rufus lose the robe, and underneath he is wearing Judy Garland's black jacket, hat and tights!!! The band did a full choreographed drag show to "Come on, Get Happy!" and then stayed in costume appropriately for the "The Gay Messiah." Fabulous, Fabulous, FABULOUS!!!

    It was very cool to hear The Magic Numbers live. I loved their first album and am now ispired to go buy the second. Such a fun, bouncy sound... totally got me in the mood for Rufus.

    First Set
    *Release the Stars
    *Going To A Town
    *Rules and Regulations
    *The Art Teacher
    *Leaving for Paris No. 2
    *Between My Legs

    Second Set
    *Harvester of Hearts
    *Do I Disappoint You
    *A Foggy Day - Gershwin & Gershwin**
    *If Love Were - Coward**
    *Nobody's Off The Hook
    *Beautiful Child
    *Not Ready To Love
    *Macushla (Traditional Irish Song)
    *14th Street

    *I Don't Know What It Is
    *Pretty Things
    *Complainte de la Butte
    *Come On, Get Happy
    *Gay Messiah

    **Samples from Rufus's Judy Garland shows.
  • Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Somerville Theater 6/29/07

    Giu 30 2007, 15:26

    What a way for me to be introduced to Ryan Adams's live show. I mean really, I'm still somewhat speechless from last night, although I'm going to do my best to find the words right now!

    Let me start by explaining my love/hate relationship with the Somerville Theater. The venue itself is incredible. It's actually a gorgeous old movie theater, that still plays older movies daily and a handful of live performances. Needless to say, the theater is not very big, which gives the performer a very intimate setting with his audience. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get tickets to shows here. This past February, Bright Eyes came to Somerville, and despite signing onto Ticketmaster the moment they went on sale, the show sold out before I could even put in my request. Anticipating the same issue when I saw that Ryan was coming to Somerville, I literally sat at my desk at work, continually pressing the refresh button 15 before tickets went on sale. Still, I was locked out. For pretty much a month, I've been a little depressed about this. Especially with Easy Tiger coming out this week, it was almost as if the world was shoving it in my face that I would not be in attendance to this show. Incredibly, I was able to find a private broker site yesterday morning that still had a couple seats avaialable for less than the $80 all the craigslist people were asking for. And thank god I did!

    When Ryan and the Cardinals took the stage a little before 8:30 pm, I knew it was going to be a long and wonderful night. They were all dressed in jackets and ties and Ryan had sunglasses on throughout most of the show (an hommage to the show TJ Hooker, as Ryan later explained). They were seated in a tight semi-circle the entire night, close enough to talk to each other even as they were playing. And, Jesus, was their sound tight! Every sound was produced as if it were coming from one person rather than six. Even on the jams, which were gloriously long and copious, there was a cohesiveness that you don't hear in pop music anymore. Their vocal harmonies were also incredible.

    Which brings me to Ryan's voice. All I can say is sobreity is treating him well. When he sang the first note of Cold Roses, I literally lost my breath at how pure and beautiful the sound was. His tone was clear as a bell and his pitch was perfect... for almost 3 straight hours!! That is a feat not easily done, my friends. But he achieved it with considerable ease.

    The set list (see below) was very heavily weighted towards the later albums, which makes sense since those were the albums that the Cardinals recorded. It made for a very chill evening. As I mentioned, the band remained seated for the whole night, as did the audience until the second encore (that's right, second!). They took a more subdued take on a lot of the songs they played; Let It Ride was particularly slowand easy compared to the recording. And they jammed on every song possible. My favorite jam (and I say this lightly, becuase how can I really choose a favorite from last night?) was Peaceful Valley. After the second chorus, the band took some time to play around before Ryan came in a cappella on a beautiful last verse. Other favorites of the night were I Taught Myself How To Grow Old, A Kiss Before I Go, Blue Hotel, Dear Chicago, The Sun Also Sets and The End.

    Ryan seemed to be in a great mood last night. He rabbled a little with the crowd, and as per usual yelled at people for shouting out songs, but for the most part he just seemed really happy to be up there and playing music with his friends. He even wrote a spur of the moment song called "The Slider" in honor of the Cardinal's steel guitarist Jon Graboff's birthday (they even brought out a cake for him). Very funny. He also made fun of himself a little saying "I think I may have had a problem with depression! Here's another song about being completely maladjusted. It's called 'I Didn't Know I Was Depressed, I Just Wanted To Die'" before playing 'I Taught Myself How To Grow Old.'

    I have no complaints about last night whatsoever. The show was amazing and long and wonderful. I truly wish I could see Ryan play every night.

    *Cold Roses
    *Please Do Not Let Me Go
    *Let It Ride
    *Elizabeth, You Were Born To Play That Part
    *Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
    *Dear Chicago
    *Peaceful Valley
    *Dear John
    *I Taught Myslef How To Grow Old
    *Easy Plateau
    *Goodnight Rose
    *What Sin
    *A Kiss Before I Go
    *Birthday Song for Jon
    *Carolina Rain

    First Encore
    *The Sun Also Sets
    *Blue Hotel
    *Beautiful Sorta
    *Pearls On A String
    *The End

    Second Encore
    *Tears of Gold
    *Off Broadway
    *Magnolia Mountain

    To listen to the show, click here.

    Ryan Adams @ Somerville Theater
    Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  • Bright Eyes w/ Gillian Welch, Wang Center, Boston MA 5/24/07

    Mag 25 2007, 15:31

    So I finally got to my first Bright Eyes show. Hooray! I was so sad when I missed them in February when Conor brought along M. Ward, so I was determined to get to this show. And while I don't know Gillian Welch as well as M. Ward, I was very pleased with the whole show.

    Gillian came on with long time collaborator David Rawlings and they did a sweet acoustic set. She's got a full yet smooth voice that was just perfect for her old school country style. And Rawlings... I am in awe of the man. I've known about him for years, mostly for his contribution's to Ryan Adams's Heartbreaker, but I was just blown away by his talent on the guitar. He produced a sound that could most accurately be described as bluegrass, but it was also so clear and pure that it reminded me a little of Slash. Amazing. His and Gillian's harmonies were also spot on, their voices blending so well that it was hard to tell who was singing each part. I could have listened to these two for hours!

    But of course their set had to end so that Conor Oberst and his currently 12 member band (2 guitars, bass, keys, 2 drummers, flute, sax, 2 violins, 2 cellos) could take the stage. Dressed all in white, the band slowly trickled in as the opening phone clips to Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed) came on. After such a toned down performance from Gillian and David, the sheer volume of sound coming from stage when Bright Eyes began was shocking. I could actually feel the intensity in my seat, which I sadly admit I was sitting in for the first half of the show, since we were in an opera house and it took a while for the audience to get roused to their feet. However, I must say, while seated, I noticed for the first time how trippy Bright Eyes can be. Over half of the set was from Cassadaga, which, with tracks like No One Would Riot for Less and Middleman, has a very subdued and yet intense feel. With so many instruments and so much sound on stage, these particular songs were just mesmerizing. I seriously couldn't pull my eyes from the stage. I've seen my share of truly great shows in the past couple of years, but it's been a while since I felt completely encompassed by a show like I was last night. I must also mention the reworked version of First Day of My Life, with the full band and and almost swing like beat. I think it took everyone by surprise, but a happy surprise!

    To my delight, Conor brought Gillian and David back to the stage for the encore, for which the trio played what I am told is a new song, Man Named Truth, and then most gorgeous version of Lua I have ever heard. With Rawlings guitar intro picking away the melody and Gillian's harmonies, I didn't think I could like this song any more. And then Gillian took over completely for the verse "I got a flask inside my pocket..." In the octave higher than Conor and somewhere between a lilt and a belt, Gillian made the song even more heartfelt and beautiful than I thought possible. The full band finally came back on for Gillian's Look at Miss Ohio which might just be my new favorite song ever. And finally, bringing on members of Oakley Hall (the first opener) and even some roadies banging the bongos, the band closed out with Road to Joy. This performance was complete with the mess of uncoordinated sound from all the instruments representing that "failures always sounded better" and Conor's obligatory smashing of his guitar at the end. And as the cacophony began to die out, people slowly trickled off stage just as they came on, leaving finally the sax player alone on a pillar, literally squeaking through his instrument over the feedback. Classic.

    Set List:

    *Hot Knives
    *Make A Plan To Love Me
    *Four Winds
    *First Day Of My Life
    *No One Would Riot For Less
    *The Calendar Hung Itself
    *Gold Mine Gutted
    *Cleanse Song
    *Soul Singer In A Session Band
    *I Believe In Symmetry

    *Man Named Truth
    *Look At Miss Ohio
    *Road To Joy

    Bright Eyes w/ Gillian Welch, Oakley Hall
  • Guess the Lyrics, Again

    Mag 17 2007, 19:56

    Haven't done one of these in a while and I'm avoiding doing real work. Rules are the same as always.

    1. cigarettes and chocolate milk, these are just a couple of my cravings Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
    2. without a warning you took my heart, you took it darling and tore it all apart Bob Seger - Turn On Your Lovelight
    3. me and this girl we've been falling in love beneath the quarter moon, beneath the quarter moon Old 97's - Oppenheimer
    4. baby leave the dishes till the morning while accepting my apologies
    5. i have a story, a bitter anthem, for everyone to hear about Something Corporate - If U C Jordan
    6. come on pretty women with your hair hanging down Grateful Dead - Candyman
    7. when i think of heaven deliver me in a black winged bird Counting Crows - Rain King
    8. we'll find a way regardless to make some sense out of this mess Wilco - Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)
    9. take a walk, out the gate you go and never stop Ben Folds - Jesusland
    10. i can say that i've lived here in honor and danger Neko Case - At Last
    11. it's hard for me to lie to you when she comes home to me
    12. took the ride up to the well for the town
    13. fingers blistered from the nightly scratching at the window which won't open far enough to let air in OK Go - The House Wins
    14. did it all get real, i guess it's real enough, they got refrigerators full of blood Bright Eyes - Easy/Lucky/Free
    15. in natural selection i've avoided all detection and the tender bits underneath Odds - Someone Who's Cool
    16. you say yes, i say no, you say stop and I say go go go The Beatles - Hello Goodbye
    17. squeaky swings and tall grass, the longest shadows ever cast Death Cab For Cutie - Summer Skin
    18. well, well, well i've found it's my life down on all fives The Replacements - Hold My Life
    19. shout out pimpled and angry, i quietly tied all my guts into knots The Shins - Know Your Onion!
    20. i want to run, i want to hide, i want to tear down the walls that hold me inside U2 - Where The Streets Have No Name
    21. well the easy morning rebel, well he has come, come down from heaven all bathed in sun My Morning Jacket - Easy Morning Rebel
    22. well the pills i got, they ask me let's go out for a while Ryan Adams - To Be The One
    23. his goal in life was to be an echo Wilco - Hummingbird
    24. looking from a window above it's like a story of love, can you hear me? Joshua Radin - Only You
    25. lejos and mary lay dazed in liula dreaming of tropical signs Ray LaMontagne - Narrow Escape
    26. i fell in love again, all things go, all things go Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
    27. and when you said i could not stay with you, that's not the way you would have wanted to be Pete Yorn - For Nancy
    28. clearly i'm a genius, if she only knew it Duncan Sheik - Genius
    29. what gives, what helps the intuition Feist - Intuition
    30. the shankill butchers run tonight, you better shut your windows tight The Decemberists - Shankill Butchers
    31. your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else that i've tried Sarah McLachlan - Ice Cream
    32. i'll get tired of the heart attacks every time it rings Snow Patrol - Gleaming Auction
    33. ice age heat wave, can't complain, the world's at large, why should i remain? Modest Mouse - The World At Large
    34. your feet upon the snow dear, you could not believe it
    35. we took a walk that night but it wasn't the same The Killers - Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
    36. there are 12 hours, there's a day between us and you called to say you're sorry in your own way Rilo Kiley - Wires & Waves
    37. last call for the moon tonight, read all rain on friday night Augustana - Hotel Roosevelt
    38. the scene is dead but i’m still restless, an hour till the last call i guess We Are Scientists - This Scene Is Dead
    39. don't it blow your mind, don't it blow your mind like the first time?
    40. when you walk without ease on these streets where you were raised The Smiths - Never Had No One Ever
    41. goonight, goodnight sweet baby, the world has more for you than it seems Ben Folds Five - Lullabye
    42. get a real job, keep the wind to your back and the sun on your face Rilo Kiley - Does He Love You?
    43. now and again it seems worse than it is but mostly the view is accurate Bright Eyes - Something Vague
    44. i saw your haircut in a store front, choppy sides and perfect bangs Kevin Devine - Haircut
    45. well i walked over the bridge into the city where i lived and i saw my old landlord Amos Lee - Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight
    46. hey, are you lonely? has summer gone so slowly? Remy Zero - Fair
    47. childhood living is easy to do, the things that you wanted, i bought them for you The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses
    48. you'll take advantage until you thin you're being used Elliott Smith - Easy Way Out
    49. why do you come here? why do you hang around? Morrissey - Suedehead
    50. i woke up today a song was swimming in my head and i hummed it to myself as i got out of bed Phantom Planet - Anthem

    Amos Lee
    The Beatles
    Ben Folds (x2)
    Bob Seger
    Bright Eyes (x2)
    Counting Crows
    Death Cab for Cutie
    The Decemberists
    Duncan Sheik
    Elliott Smith
    Golden Smog
    Grateful Dead
    Joe Firstman
    Joshua Radin
    Kevin Devine
    The Killers
    Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
    Matt Pond PA (x2)
    Modest Mouse
    My Morning Jacket
    Neko Case
    OK Go
    Old 97's
    Pete Yorn
    Phantom Planet
    Ray LaMontagne
    Remy Zero
    The Replacements
    Rilo Kiley (x2)
    The Rolling Stones
    Rufus Wainwright
    Ryan Adams
    Sarah McLachlan
    The Shins
    The Smiths
    Snow Patrol
    Something Corporate
    Sufjan Stevens
    We Are Scientists
    Wilco (x2)
  • Aqualung, Paradise Rock Club, 4/17/07

    Apr 20 2007, 22:02

    Aqualung, aka Matt Hales, brought his A game to Boston on Tuesday night. Going into the show, I was expecting a subdued, relaxed night. Their first album, Strange and Beautiful, I can only describe as slow and haunting, and while their latest album, Memory Man, is a little louder, I still wouldn't call it upbeat, necessarily. And with Sara Bareilles as the opening act (who, btw, was excellent), I really thought I was in for a soft, romantic night.

    I was wrong. Matt came out with his band and really just rocked out. His sound was so much bigger than I was expecting. Granted this was my first time seeing him live, but I was really expecting less band and more piano. Even when he switched from the keyboard to the piano, he really just banged it out. Matt told us halfway through the set that on the latest album, he wanted to write more music that would "make me sweat," and sweat he did. But in an adorable, nerdy way, of course! And while I thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected loud rock sound, I must say I am also in awe of Matt's higher vocal register... it's very light and pretty and amazingly sounds good both on the record AND live. I was pretty excited to hear it on Breaking My Heart when a girl requested the song at the very end of the night. Other favorites of the night included Outside and Rolls So Deep, both from the new album (which you should buy if you haven't already).

    The set list went something like this (I can't for the life of me remember the order so I made some educated guesses, but I'm pretty sure I didn't miss any songs here):

    *Falling Out Of Love
    *Good Times Gonna Come
    *Something To Believe In
    *Memory Man (a funny song about making the new album)
    *Vapour Trail
    *Another Little Hole
    *Easier To Lie
    *Pressure Suit
    *Naughty or Nice (improv initiated by Matt's guitarist and brother, Ben Hales; inspired by Matt having to yell at the sound guy in the middle of the set, calling him naughty, and then explaining to us about how now that he has a three-year-old, everything can be put in terms of either naughty or nice)
    *Extra Ordinary Thing
    *Brighter Than Sunshine
    *Rolls So Deep

    *Broken Bones
    *Strange and Beautiful
    *Breaking My Heart -> Black Hole

    On a side note, I'm a little surprised that there weren't more people at this show, seeing as they've had exposure on VH1 for well over a year now, as well as songs on countless TV shows... Scrubs and The OC, specifically. They even opened for Pete Yorn this year. I think they need some more love.
  • Alternate Routes, Paradise Lounge 3/30/07

    Apr 13 2007, 14:16

    This will probably be one of the last shows The Alternate Routes play in Boston for a while as they are beginning to pick up more shows around the country. I think it might also be one of the last shows they play at the Lounge (as opposed to the rock club next door) since they completely sold out this one. And while this is sad for me, it's pretty cool for the band, especially considering this time last year they were playing for a minimal crowd at the Lounge.

    As always, these guys put out a great set. Even though they only have one released album (Good and Reckless and True... buy it if you haven't already), they have quite a few standards that did not make it onto the album that include in their shows. Those are the songs I look forward to the most when going to an Alternate Routes show, since I've completely worn out the album. So when they opened up with 'Shelley', I knew it was going to be a good night. Tim Warren actually wrote the song about his high school girlfriend, whom he recently found out through the magic of facebook is now married. My other favorite of the night was 'Louisiana,' probably because it appeals to my love of country. I really can't wait for these guys to stop touring and record a new album, although that probably won't happen anytime soon. After speaking to them post-show, they seemed pretty excited to be picking up steam on the road. Plus, they just played Conan O'Brien, which is not too shabby!

    I also have to give a shout out to Pete Kilpatrick who opened up for AR. He did a great job of setting up a fun, relaxed vibe. His sound is a little more funky, along the lines of old-school Dave Matthews Band or Dispatch. In high school, I listened to a lot of that kind of music, so it was rather refreshing to sort of step back into that world for a little while. Pete himself gave me a CD after the show which I am finally getting around to listening to now and thoroughly enjoying.
  • Snow Patrol Ridiculousness

    Mar 29 2007, 16:08

    I'm not quite sure how to recapture how amazing last night's Snow Patrol show was for me. I guess I should start from the beginning...

    My roommate is a BU law student so she was able to get us amazing floor seats, maybe 10 rows back at the most, through a BU only presale. Now, I don't generally like big arena shows cause you don't really get to see the band up close or anything. But Agganis Arena is pretty small as far as arena's go, and we were on the floor... and it was Snow Patrol with OK Go opening. So I had little choice but to go. We got to show just as Silversun Pickups were finishing. I was a little sad to miss them since I've heard good things. But then OK Go took the stage. They are so adorable!!! I loved their style, their banter, everything!! And I especially loved how great our seats were when Damian jumped off the stage into the audience and ran right by me, so close I could have touched him. I immediately started texting all my friends in other seats, bragging that I saw Damian up close and personal! Little did I know how much more was in store....

    So I'm sure many of you Snow Patrol fans out there know about how Gary has been choosing a girl out of the audience each night to sing Martha Wainwright's part on Set the Fire to the Third Bar. Well, when STFTTTB came up in the set, Gary got them to bring up the house lights so he could see a little further into the audience and asked if anyone wanted to sing. At this point my roommate is pointing wildly at me and even got the people in front of us to point at me. I was just laughing, thinking there is no way I would get picked. But low and behold, Gary looks directly at me and asks if I want to join the band on stage. In half a second I was climbing over chairs and guardrails (in stiletto heels, mind you) on my way to sing in front of thousands of people with effing Snow Patrol. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. When I got up there, Gary asked my name then introduced me to the crowd, like I was a legitimate rock star or something. Then we just jumped right into the song. Luckily for me, I listened to Eyes Open a bunch right before the show so I think I did a pretty decent job on the lyrics. And I hope I sounded ok!! It was really just incredible. At one point, Gary even got down on his knee and sang to me... I literally swooned! After it was all over, Gary gave me, like, a million hugs and then dedicated the next song Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking to me.

    Okay, okay, enough about me and fulfilling my fantasy of being a rock star.... here are the set lists:

    OK GO
    House Wins
    Television, Television
    Don't Ask Me
    A Good Idea At The Time
    Get Over It
    Oh, Lately It's So Quiet
    Don't Bring Me Down (Electric Light Orchestra cover)
    Here It Goes Again
    Do What You Want

    Snow Patrol
    Spitting Games
    It's Beginning To Get To Me
    Headlights On Dark Roads
    How To Be Dead
    Grazed Knees
    Chasing Cars
    Shut Your Eyes
    Set The Fire To The Third Bar
    Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking
    Make This Go On Forever
    Ways & Means
    You're All I Have
    The Finish Line
    Open Your Eyes
    Hands Open

    I think this was the best $30 I ever spent.
  • Pete Yorn Set List - 3/19/07 Boston, MA

    Mar 22 2007, 15:02

    Set List from Pete Yorn's Monday night show at the Avalon in Boston, Ma (part of the Morning, Day, and Night tour).

    * For Nancy
    * For Us
    * Strange Condition
    * Alive
    * Long Way Down
    * Just Another
    * Undercover
    * EZ -> Closet
    * The Man
    * Never My Love (The Association)
    * Maybe I'm Right
    * Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones)
    * Policies
    * Little Surfer (The Beach Boys)
    * Murray

    * Lose You
    * Splendid Isolation (Warren Zevon version)
    * Life on a Chain
    * Crystal Village

    Murray was probably the best, with Crystal Village or Lose You as close seconds. Pete is wonderful. There's really not too much else to say. I loved the harmonica on For Nancy and Life on a Chain. I loved every vocal. My only wish is that the set was longer!

    Opening acts:

    Minibar, who also backed up Pete during his set (meaning Pete's set had FOUR guitars). Also, these guys are Irish... I think... which makes them naturally badass.

    Moses Mayfield: After their first song, I thought these guys were trying to bring 90's alternative back. Not that I would object to that, but I couldn't figure out why they were opening for Pete Yorn. But as the set progressed, they mellowed out a bit, and we found out that the lead singer can wail. I mean, seriously wail. On a Bono level. I will be purchasing their new album.
  • Rhett Miller @ The Paradise, Boston, MA

    Mar 13 2007, 14:55

    I tried to recruit people to come see Rhett Miller with me last Friday for over a month but, because half of my friends are still students and the show overlapped with spring break, I almost had to do this one alone! Fortunately for me, I was able to convince a friend Friday afternoon that this was a show NOT to be missed. And, of course, I was correct, although I'm not so sure how much my friend agreed!

    Todd Thibaud opened up with a solo acoustic act. Pleasant, but a bit boring. Still, easy to listen to and got me ready to hear some good music.

    Rhett's set, however, was anything but boring. He also played a solo acoustic set, but from the first strum of his strings, Rhett rocked the venue. Besides Ben Folds, I have never seen a solo act give enough sound and energy to come off as if he were a full band! Rhett admitted halfway through the set that there were times during his solo tour that he missed having his band back him up. But he certainly compensated, even banging his fist on his guitar to in order to produce a drum sound. I also really dug the fact that he did not feel the need to quiet his voice just because he was up there alone. A lot of acoustic guitar acts end up singing softly and safely, but Rhett went right on screaming and wailing as always. I even thought he sounded more like he does on the Old 97's records than his solo recordings. But I guess this is an acquired taste, as my friend who I dragged along determined that Rhett cannot sing. I firmly disagree.

    The set itself was amazing, full of Old 97's stuff and more recent solo hits. I wish I had a set list, but I swear he played at least 20 songs, if not more. He fudged the lyrics on a couple, but that never really bothers me much... it usually means the band is playing something that they don't play often, as Rhett admitted when he began his encore with Terrible Vision. Other highlights for me were Question (he sang an extra verse and chorus in french, so great), Rollerskate Skinny, and Fireflies. Since Rachel Yamagata wasn't there, Rhett sang both parts is two distinctly separate voices, citing Jaime Lee Curtis as his inspiration for the performance. I also loved his intro into Singular Girl where he explained how he had tried to get get the Old 97's to put this song on a record for years and they refused but now that Rhett has recorded it, they totally wished it was an Old 97's song.

    Great show. I'm so happy I got to check it out. Now I will be restlessly awaiting the new album from the Old 97's even though it probably won't be out for another year!
  • Matt Wertz, The Alternate Routes, and Jon McLaughlin

    Gen 30 2007, 20:48

    This past Friday I attended my first show of 2007. Well, more accurately, I snuck into my first show of 2007. The Alternate Routes were scheduled to open for Matt Wertz at Boston University, however the show was technically only open to BU students. Luckily my roommate is a law student there and managed to find me and another friend some BU IDs and we were off to the races. I thought that since I am now well into my twenties my days of fake ids were over. All I can say is nothing can keep me from a good show!

    The night opened with Jon McLaughlin, a very adorable looking, piano playing, heartfelt singer-songwriter from Indiana. He played solo on a Yamaha keyboard but still managed to pound out some very moving and powerful melodies. I liked his raspy voice. I will certainly be purchasing his album when it comes out this spring.

    Next were the Alternate Routes. A pretty standard set from them (and by standard I mean awesome). The last show I saw from them in December, Tim introduced a new song, Desdemona, which he played solo on his acoustic. Now, a month later, the song has really come together with Eric on what I believe was a mandolin and Chip on the banjo. It was really cool to actually witness the evolution of their song-writing. The jam on Going Home With You was especially sweet... it included a little sample from Beck's I'm A Loser in the middle. A great set for them, as usual!

    Finally, it was Matt Wertz's turn. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of his but I will say that he is a talented songwriter. The set was mostly from his latest album. He gave a great performance of The Way I Feel. The show was definitely energetic and exciting and the audience, which was comprised mostly of Matt Wertz fans, were very engaged. There was little I could complain about.

    Altogether, it was a good show. If you get the chance to see these acts together, I highly suggest you take it!