And this guy.
I think that Josh Ritter is one of the greatest musical artists of whatever you would call the time period we're living in now. This is not going to devolve into a creepy love letter about how he is the voice of our age or any of that other mawkish bullshit. But I really adore his music and he just seems like a lovely person. Not a god. Not a prophet. A talented artist and a decent human being (a Good Man, you might say--har har) and his music has made my world a more enjoyable place to live. Be prepared for a lot of links and embedded songs.
My only beef with him has been that he has always had the inability to be in the same place as me when he is performing. As in, less than a week after I flew back to Dublin he played twenty minutes from my home in New Jersey. Similar instances have occurred--on both sides of that infernal ocean--for the better part of five years. This past Tuesday, all that changed.
Did I care that the venue wasn't built when I bought the tickets? Nope.
Did I care that the concert was the sandwiched between two exams, one being at 9:30 the next morning? No way.
Did I care that the tickets were well out of my price range and I knew that I would probably wind up stuck with extras when my more sensible friends couldn't go because of the exam schedule? Not in the least.
And I regret nothing.
Correction: I regret assuming that I wouldn't be allowed to bring my camera in, leaving it, and then spending the concert hating every flashbulb that went off.
Back to the concert. It was amazing. I am using short-ish sentences and words to contain my overflowing joy at the memory of it.
First off, we were a couple of minutes late getting in for the opening act, which we all felt awful about because he great. It could be argued that I'm just a sucker for 'that kind of music', and I wouldn't fight back. It's true. Anyway, his name is Joe Pug and he is tops.
Mr. Ritter and the band were fantastic. It is not a matter of debate or opinion. Every member played wonderfully and they all seemed to be having such a great time that you couldn't help but smile through the whole performance. I am actually typing this with a huge smile on my face and I probably sound like a gushing idiot. Don't care.
The most energetic and giddy-energy-inducing number was definitely this baybeh.
So much of his music is melodic and close that the livelier songs like this are startling in the most pleasant of ways.
He also played one of my favourite songs, Harrisburg, which definitely needs to be experienced live. Wow. That's a douchey thing to say. What I mean is that it's one of those songs which is wonderfully strong, but has a flexibility in it for the best kind of ad libbing, if you can say that with music.
Kind of selfish on our part, but it makes the audience feel special.
A fair portion of the night was songs off of his new album, and that is not a complaint. So Runs the World Away is nothing short of an achievement and I'd be lying if I said it has not been racking up a significant play count on my iTunes. Overused as the phrase is, I'm in no headspace to think of a better one to describe The Curse than 'hauntingly beautiful'. It is that. Simply.
The amazing thing about the performance, especially this song, is that it was scarcely a performance at all. A talented songwriter and singer though he is, Ritter is not much of a showman. The audience is undoubtedly entertained and, more than that, enthralled while he and the band are playing, but he doesn't have the gaudy, pleading insistence of a showman, which I really appreciate. When he sang this song, though, he grew kind of stiff and curled into himself, his movements laboured and slow, like those of a mummy in a silent film. Not frightening or comical, but just right.
The rendition of In the Dark was done in silence. The band left the stage, all of the instruments were turned off, he stepped away from the microphones, and just filled the theatre with his voice.
Okay. I think I should cut myself off here. You get the picture. I had a fanfuckingtastic time and hope that it won't be too long before I can see him again.
Blog: Book of Jubilations
New CD: So Runs the World Away (Not out until the fourth in America.)
Oh, and he did dedicate a song to everyone's favourite plane-stopping volcano.
Follower Love Fest #3: Lillian Boren
What can I say about Lillian? More importantly, what can't I say? She knits the the best fake stoles this side of the International Date Line. She is a really talented gal. Not just a master in the art of wielding big fucking needles, she has fabulous hair, a contagious smile, and enough cardigans to start a family/kill a horse/sell water to a drowning man. And the wit on her. I've gotten many a dirty look in the library while trying to hold in teh lulz that she provokes in her entries at L is for Lillian. You should head there while supplies last!