Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Bimbo's and Pornographers

Went to the New Pornographers concert with my friend Mat, roommate Jane, and a host of other music lovers. It was my first outing to Bimbo's, and other than the name, I thought the venue was great: small, intimate, and classy without being pretentious (except for the dixie-size cocktails they have the audacity to charge $5 a piece for). As my friend described it yesterday, it has an old-school supper-club type feel.

The concert itself has helped me to reaffirm something I'm just slowly discovering (keep in mind I grew up on an island where going to concerts wasn't exactly a common or easy thing to do, ao my learning curve on this one is a bit slow) -- I think it's great to hear music live before ever popping in a CD or hearing an artist's song on the radio. Case in point: Jason Mraz. Awhile back I had heard Remedy on the radio, and while it's not terrible, I was not particularly impressed. It sounded too much like a rip off of Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity from 10 years ago so I didn't really pay much attention to what else Jason was doing. Then my friend Jud brought me to a concert, and it was one of the best shows I've seen. The guy has a vocal range that will blow you away, and he mixes so many different genres (funk, skat, a little rap, reggae, slow soul-filled ballads - and yes, he even busted out with some opera) that far from being a knock-off, he was one of the more original artists I've seen perform. Fresh from the excitement of the concert, I had to get my hands on a CD (debut album: Waiting for my Rocket to Come), which of course I've played over and over again since then, but it still pales in comparison to the on-stage performance. The album sounds over-produced and it tones down the vocal range that made him so engaging in the first place. Go get the CD anyway. It doesn't suck; it's just not the same.

Anyway, back to the New Pornographers: The show was a high energy variation from the past few concerts I've been to, which all fall under the "singer/songwriter on stage with a guitar" category (Dar Williams, Ben Taylor, Pedro the Lion, Jason Mraz). Something was funky with the mic balance the first two songs, and Neko Case was drowned out or something (I wish I was knowledgable enough about music to use technical terms for what was going on), but by the third or fourth song in the set they seemed to get everything straightened out and that chick's voice filled the room. I can't wait to see her perform solo, where I understand she takes a sharp turn from the indie rock sound of New Pornographers, instead opting for alternative country?!? Anyone know when she'll be in San Francisco or surrounding areas again?

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