Saturday, May 9, 2009

Update: A little bit country.

Interview Andrew Bird from Editor I Amsterdam on Vimeo.

It's always a shame to get paid to work and realise you don't have any time to write for fun - but 'Say La V' as the Italians would say. This past week was a great week for music at Paradiso, not that I took in all of it but it's a sure sign that bands are wanting to tour this part of the world as the weather improves. This week we had Great Lake Swimmers, Shearwater and Easy Star Allstars all in one night, Andrew Bird, Phosphorescent and Laura Marling another.

Great Lake Swimmers were fantastic - the Canadians dressed in national costume of plaid shirts, beards and easy temperament. I don't know their latest album but have Ongaria and it was a delight to hear those songs - bred on Neil Young - played live not to mention "Concrete Heart" about 1950s-60s architecture in Toronto and its line - "like the tallest self-supporting tower - at least for a little while anyway" Oh the woes of a City's proud monument becoming eclipsed by something more impressive.

Shearwater I had heard about but nothing of. I had high hopes knowing the Okkervil River lineage. Nevertheless that dude is annoying, wailing about. We left halfway through - like Nick Hornby said 'never be afraid to walk out of a gig'. The music was interesting and the drummer, who looked like one of the film crew metal heads from Wayne's World - Terry I believe it was, was 80s awesome. But the rest didn't strike me none.

We lost our tickets to Beirut which was a complete shit considering it was sold out so we couldn't buy more. Mixed reviews from those that went from 'really great' to 'meh'. Later upstairs I got wind from Steven that Health were amazing. He couldn't stop going on about them. He also said Metric split the crowd.

Thursday night saw Andrew Bird and support. I had no idea who the supports were to be but was pleasantly surprised to discover it was Laura Marling and Phosphorescent.

Phosphorescent main man Matthew Houck looks something like the Spin Doctors guy but with a lonesome country glum. With recent album To Willy dedicated to Mr Nelson, there's tinges of folk, bluegrass and gospel not to mention some good ol' fashion honky tonk music. A delight. I'll be Glasgow later this month, sadly I miss them by 5 days, May 31 - Check them out at Captain's Rest.

Laura Marling, blessed with a maturity beyond her years, opened with debut single "ghosts" which is a little different from the rest of her songs, in a deeper melancholy drenched with English folk. Sterling stuff, 'cept for it being so delicate the Paradiso kind of overwhelmed her voice.

Andrew Bird is a scientist. Truly. He can predict the future via his multi-layered looping, putting down a guitar and picking up a violin, then a guitar sounds strums from nowhere. An invention behind him is some sort of pedal activated, double barrel grammaphone, whirly-gig. Dosh his drummer is equally brilliant.
He wanders in and out through improvised meanderings but I was thankful that he stuck to the script for "Plasticities". He had the sold out audience wrapped up and far more self-assured on stage than when I interviewed him.

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