a Review (or appreciation)

December 23rd, 2008 · 3 Comments · By

That show last night was fucking great. {Click below for a review…}

Unfortunately I missed John’s DJ set; I arrived directly from New York City to the restaurant, right in the middle of DBB Plays Cups …  so I only caught the second half of that, but it was pretty great.

David’s songs are really unusual and insightful and also really funny — he walks this weird line between irony and sincerity, between coy cleverness and honesty.  He picks these totally specific topics that are almost absurd (he dedicated one song “to anyone from the midwest who is 20 years old. If you were born on today’s date in ’88… in the Midwest, this song is for you”) but then he writes honest and brilliant songs about them which manage to really clearly articulate a concept or idea or narrative which nobody else really talks or sings about.

the penultimate “Go Out on a High Note” was probably the highlight … it directly addresses a specific unidentified person (the listener?) and pseudo-sarcastically strokes their ego and discusses their insecurities, repeating lines like “Here’s your chance to get one last leg up on the night” and “Remember to blow that one last kiss with your eyes” as the music stumbles towards a self-conscious climax that is both an obvious joke (see: the title) and somehow also a satisfying success.

Plus seeing David play with a band is always funny and fun; he has this way of playing “off,” sort of wandering between high and low, slow and fast — it reminds me a lot of Jandek, the time I was lucky enough to see him play live. DBB’s backing band last night was John and Tom (of this blog) on drums and bass, and both a wasted Thomas Dean and guy who was apparently David’s dad on dueling keyboards. David clearly needs a structured musical backing that he can wander around over top of, but the only-partly-rehearsed band were always watching him for cues about where the lengthy, sometimes complicated songs were going, so they ended up in this weird catch-22 where he and the band were sort of clumsily following each other in a circle, making fun sloppy indie-/bar-rock while David solemnly intoned his brilliant songs over top. From the back of the room it sounded like a mess, but from the very front it was brilliant.

Then Invisible Hand just totally tore things up; it was killer. A lot of my fellow attendees up front were complaining about the sound mix being really off — you could barely hear John and Adam’s vocals couldn’t go up louder without feeding back — but it was so loud and I was so drunk and having so much fun that it almost didn’t even matter.

For me, the appeal of Invisible Hand isn’t so much the songs themselves (although the songs are good), but rather the arrangements and the looseness Adam allows them.  On his albums (I have two CD-Rs and a tape) they sound like a template for studio experimentation, playing with the different elements and seeing how they might fit together; but live, the songs are an opportunity for four totally solid musicians to get together and kick ass. They’ve been playing a lot recently with this new(ish) line-up, and at this point their show is so tight you could bounce a quarter off it. Those guys just totally knocked it out of the park on every song.

So it was a pretty excellent way to arrive back in town; surrounded by good friends and great music in a tiny space, chugging mixed drinks after having spent the whole day travelling, after two days without a shower or sleep.  Though I may have been painfully hung over and sore this morning, I had an absolute blast.

Does anyone have pictures?

Tags: feature

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jon bray // Dec 24, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Thanks for the kind words!!! I definately thought we were WAAAYYYYYY too loud, but whatever, it’s rock and roll! We had a good time playing, and it was nice to see such an awesome gathering of people.

  • 2 sarah // Dec 24, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    i had a great time! you all were fabulous, fun, well-behaved customers. do come again.

  • 3 John // Dec 26, 2008 at 3:54 am

    I didn’t really end up DJing, except for choosing a playlist to finish things up until last call.

    David’s dad was indeed rocking it on the keys. And thanks to Thomas (who also rocked the keys) for jumping in with us last minute.

    I had the most fun ever playing drums, even though I am by no means a proficient drummer.

    Invisible Hand. Always good. The cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was the cherry on top of an awesome night. And then Thomas Dean rocked his bass amp so hard that it caught fire!