Live Review: Stevens/Grant/Bellows; ‘Nathaniel Walcott and Michael Riley Mogis’…

Category: Blog — @ 11:50 am December 3, 2007

Saturday night was sweet and sour. I got to the Barley Street Tavern at around 10:30 and discovered that I missed an impromptu 4-song set of Compost songs performed by Todd Grant and Matt Rutledge. Everyone was still buzzing about it. Ah, if I would have only known…Ted Stevens was already on stage, backed by Alex McManus. Calling themselves The Shitbirds (or as McManus preferred, The Shyte Byrds), the duo played a set of bluesy folk songs punctuated by Stevens’ trippy, clever lyrics. McManus spent the set ripping into some amazing fills and solos on electric guitar. At times, the arrangements seemed downright esoteric. Stevens hinted at a future album, but didn’t give any specifics.

Next up was Cary Smith, with Todd Grant playing the sideman role. Smith only played a couple songs, stopping and starting throughout, sometimes to tune his guitar. Afterward, Grant played two songs — one from the Grant/Kasher sessions from a couple years back; the other, a roaring version of “The Know” from Strangled Soul. And that was it for Grant. He told me he intended to play more, but apparently the night was running long and he wanted to give Jake Bellows the stage — a real disappointment as I’d hoped to hear a full Grant set. Next time. As consolation, it was the best Bellows solo set I’ve ever heard. His voice soared throughout his hour of sleepy, downcast folk ditties (that included a Mayday cover). Nice crowd of 40-50.

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There’s an item in the Hollywood Reporter (here) about Nik Fackler’s film Lovely Still, which currently is shooting somewhere around Omaha. One amusing line from the story: “‘Lovely’ will feature an original score by Nathaniel Walcott and Michael Riley Mogis of Bright Eyes.” I guess score credits demand more formal names than “Nate” and “Mike.” For the first time, Landau’s and Burstyn’s co-stars in the film were named: The super-hot Elizabeth Banks (40 Year Old Virgin) and Adam Scott (HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me). I have yet to see the production trailers around town.

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