A restrained, arty crowd (of 150?) last night at Sokol Underground got a long earful of Richard Buckner, maybe (definitely) too long. Seated with just his guitar and a sideman, Buckner put together a set of new and old that spanned at least 75 minutes, which I’m sure was a delight for fans. For the rest of it, the guy-and-guitar performance is always what I’ve never liked about him, and why his latest CD, Meadow, is such a good trip because there he’s backed by a full band, making these folkish ditties into rockers instead of snoozers. Part of the problem was the lack of dynamics — one song blended into the next, until you caught yourself looking at your watch.
Buckner finished up at around midnight (only a handful of people left after his set) then up came the towering Bachmann (There would be no sitting down for him!). From the first note of “Man o’ War,” which just happens to be the first song on his new album, Bachmann created on stage a pitch-perfect, dynamic replication of the CD — in other words, if you like the record, you liked the set (I do and did). I heard two people comment on the Neil Diamond similarity in vocals (everything but the low-end growl), and another yap about Bachmann’s precise finger-picking style (delicate pinging on a nylon-strung acoustic). The highlight, though, was my favorite track off Crooked Fingers’ Red Devil Dawn, “Bad Man Coming,” and fleshing it out with violin, keyboards and a guy playing a couple drums with mallets. Beautiful.
Tonight, all kinds of things going on. Down at Sokol Underground Two Gallants with Langhorne Slim and Trainwreck Riders. Here’s what I wrote for The Reader about this show that they didn’t publish: I’ve got to admit it — Two Gallants’ Saddle Creek Records’ debut, What the Toll Tells, has grown on me. At first I couldn’t get past the backbeat shack-shanty pirate pulse that runs thick throughout their take on ’20s- and ’30s-era blues by way of modern-day San Francisco. But now I look forward to hearing the over-the-top bash-crash ruckus of “Las Cruces Jail” and the rocking-chair blues of “Steady Rollin'” whenever they show up on my iPod shuffle. On stage they take their gritty folk elegies a step further, turning their set into a rock ‘n’ roll tent show. Don’t miss out on this revival. $8, 9 p.m.
Also tonight, Scott Severin Band is at O’Leaver’s. Scott sent me a copy of his latest CD, which reminded me of John Hiatt morphed with Stan Ridgway and some Midwest snarl. Wonder what he sounds like live? With three other bands, 9:30, $5.
And maybe the theatrical show of the evening, Father, collaborating with Dapose of The Faint, performing the first track off their disturbing just-released debut (you can find it at Drastic Plastic) along with Vverevvolf Grehv (Formerly Precious Metal), Wasteoid, and Kjeld, all at The Magic Theater, 325 S. 16th St, and by candlelight no less. 9 p.m., $5.
The rest of the weekend is Little Brazil Saturday night and Jenny Lewis Sunday. More later.
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