The Books & Todd Reynolds

The Books have been one of my favorite artists ever since I heard "enjoy your worries, you may never have them again". They have been on my list of 'artists to see before I die' for quite some time and last night I had that pleasure. They played a great set including my favorite song "Smells Like Content". They also did a fantastic cover of Nick Drake's "Cello Song". Each song had an accompanying video that will be released on DVD by the end of the month. The videos were funny and great, in a really subtle way. The Books are by far one of the most creative acts out there right now, no matter what kind of music you are into. If you are not familiar with their music, do your self a favor and purchase some. And if you are already a fan of The Books, the you know what I'm talking about, and are probably as excited as I am to get my hands on that DVD.

The Books- Smells Like Content live

Todd Reynolds was the opening act. I hadn't heard any of Reynolds music previously, which is basically him playing violin and using a loop pedal. He is a phenomenal violinist, in some ways it reminded me of Eluvium but not as ambient. All I can really say is I didn't think he was spectacular, but Todd Reynolds is definitely worth checking out.

Todd Reynolds- "Walkin'"


decemberist, my brightest diamond, backlog

Here's a backlog of the shows I've been to in the recent past that I haven't posted about and a few pictures/songs for each.

3/31 The Decemberist and My Brightest Diamond
2/17 Anathallo
2/10 Sam Beam and David Bazan
2/9 Yo La Tengo and The Rosebuds

I have to admit I haven't listened to The Decemberists since last September, and that was giving the new record a second and third chance. I used to consider myself a Decemberists fan, and I'd say after this show, I would again. First off, the opened with Shiny and closed with The Tain, my two favorite Decemberists songs. Second, sure you can call them folk, alt-country, etc, etc, but a good deal of this show was straight up rock and roll. This may have been due to the fact I was standing in front of guitarists Chris Funk's amplifier. If you saw the guitar-off spurred by the green screen challenge on the Colbert Report, you might have a better idea of what I'm talking about. Their stage presence made this a great show. Although he had his moments, gone is the Colin Meloy of mostly acoustic historically accurate lullabies. I would not be surprised if their next move was a rock opera. Funk and drummer Nate Query made their way into the crowd near the end of the set, random percussion implements in hand, for some sort of impromptu Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment ... I'm not sure what that was about, but it was funny.

[mp3] The Decemberists - Shiny
[video] Stephen Colbert vs. The Decemberists: 2nd Green Screen Challenge

If you read my top 10 of 2006, you may already realize that I love My Brightest Diamond. Her opening set was absolutely intense. Her voice was unwavering, hitting every note as precisely as the record. Shara Worden was joined by equally energetic drummer and bassist, so three strong, the set lacked the orchestration and sprawling arrangements of Bring Me the Workhorse. Even so, it was nothing short of amazing.

[mp3] My Brightest Diamond - Something of an End

And as I had mentioned ... some backlogging.

I actually got pictures of Anathallo this time in Pittsburgh. Their set was nearly identical to the fall show. There's not much I can really say other than they were great as always.

Sam Beam and David Bazan at Messiah College ... sitting room only. For some reason Sam Beam (of Iron and Wine) thought it would be a good idea to sit. Sure it was more intimate, but rather uncomfortable. The setlist included quite a few songs from the new record due this fall, which sounded very promising. David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) is so much cooler in the first place. Two covers were the highlight of his set: Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and L'Amour Stories (Deerhoof). I asked him to play song A but he dissappointed me.

[video] David Bazan - Hallelujah (live @ Messiah College)
[video] David Bazan - L'Amour Stories (live @ Messiah College)

And then Yo La Tengo ... another record that made my top 10. This was an amazing show - two and a half hours of garage punk, avante garde soundscapes and everything in between. They played a lot from the new record ... pretty much a lot of everything. only they did not play my favorite song - Little Eyes. Even so, they should make the "must see before I die" list for each and every one of you reading this.