Feature story: Mogwai; Live Review: Other Lives, Elvis Perkins in Dearland…

Category: Blog — @ 5:50 pm May 7, 2009

Just placed online, a feature story with comments from Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai (read it here). I say “feature story” vs. “interview” because Stuart was a man of few words. Still, he talked about what few words are used in Mogwai’s mostly instrumental music — song titles, album themes, etc. He also talked briefly about iPods and what the band has in store for next Monday’s show at The Slowdown. Give it a quick read — then click over here and buy your tickets.

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Speaking of shows, last night’s show at The Waiting Room was a good one. I got there just in time to catch the last song by Bear Country, which featured some gorgeous multi-part harmonies a la CSNY. Here’s an action photo. I haven’t seen these folks do a full set in a couple years (and I need to).

Stillwater, OK, band Other Lives was up next. The six-piece was more like an orchestra than a band, featuring cello, harmonium and violin (not fiddle) along with the usual guitar/keyboard/bass/drums combo. Their music was as big and broad as the Oklahoma sky — cinematic and, especially on a Leonard Cohen cover, draped in drama like a soundtrack from a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Folks in the crowd compared them to everyone from Richard Buckner to Fleet Foxes to (in my case) Pinetop Seven — one of the few bands that had the same epic grace and scope (see photo).

Elvis Perkins’ set opened on a somber note when he came out alone — looking like a 95-pound version of Johnny Depp — and performed a solo version of “123 Goodbye,” that, for me, was one of the night’s highlights (see photo). Afterward, he was joined by the rest of his band — each member playing multiple instruments — guitar, piano, bass and most notably, trombone. Ah, that trombone, which was only used on a few songs, gave the proceedings a brassy New Orleans sheen. Most of the set was dedicated to the …in Dearland album, including a gripping version of “Shampoo,” the album’s “single,” which you could hear on your radio if life were fair. But life isn’t fair when it comes to independent music, and never will be. That said, Perkins is riding a deserved wave of loving press these days, ordained as the latest “NPR band” to break through from college to something (slightly) bigger. He’s the kind of guy whose music will appeal to everyone from smart late teens to their parents to their parents’ friends in their 50s and 60s who grew up listening to The Band and Dylan. The next time we see Perkins could very well be on stage at The Holland or another larger, more formal venue.

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