Live review: Todd Grant, Dolorean; Son, Ambulance, Mal Madrigal tonight

Category: Blog — @ 1:25 pm March 15, 2005

So I never got around to putting my thoughts down on the Todd Grant concert yesterday afternoon because I was too busy writing a feature on Low that’ll go online tomorrow morning, as well as putting together Column 17 for Thursday. Thus is life. I was also too bushed to go to Head of Femur last night (a review or impressions would be appreciated on the webboard).

That said, Sunday night’s Todd Grant show was a real treat. Grant’s band, featuring a scorching Mike Brannan on lead guitar (Who knew he was such a cocky axman? It’s been a long time since Guerilla Theater.) and hammerin’ Dan Crowell on drums was remarkable (Oh yeah, and that Tim Kasher kid who stood off to the side on bass was good, too. Something tells me he could go places). Grant looked comfortable and assured in the frontman position, and sounded like he never left the stage for all those years. A guy next to me called his music “run-of-the-mill roots rock” and maybe he was right, but for whatever reason this critic, who usually yawns at this sort of thing, loved it. It was Grant’s whole-hearted love of performing these songs that made the set endearing — you could tell that each one meant something to him, was written without thinking of style or genre or trying to make a hit. Grant writes and plays music because, well, that’s what he does. It’s been the bane and boom of his life. Vocally, he reminds me of a cross between Warren Zevon, Lou Reed and the long forgotten Gram Parker (Who owns a copy of Squeezing out Sparks? Anybody? Come on, people!). The songs ranged between quieter folky stuff with a kick to full-blown barroom rockers. The highlight was the closing number (an old Compost song, Grant told me afterward) that just blew the place up. You’ll get a chance to see Grant and his band again April 2 at O’Leaver’s.

Next up was headliner Dolorean. I had planned to take off right after the Grant set to get home and finish the Low story, but was talked into catching the front end of the singer/songwriter’s set. I’ve never heard his records before and have been told that they’re amazing. His stage show, however, was less so. Dolorean, a.k.a. Silverton, Oregon’s Jay Clarke, has a voice and style that resembles Neil Young’s quieter stuff to a fault. I couldn’t shake the comparison. And while I dig Neil Young, and liked a lot of what I heard from Dolorean, I could never get my mind off the resemblance. There has to be more to this guy than that, but I didn’t have time to discover it, heading home after the fourth song.

Tonight: Son, Ambulance, Jason Anderson (Wolf Colonel) and Mal Madrigal at Sokol Underground. Should be another good one — which would make six night’s of good shows in a row. Who needs SXSW, anyway? Show’s at 9, tickets are $7.

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