Sunday, November 20, 2016

The End of Rocktober: Damien Jurado at The Earl (11/17/2016) and St. Paul & The Broken Bones at The Fox (11/18/2016), Atlanta

We've got some catching up to do.  Although not previously mentioned, last Thursday night we saw Damien Jurado at The Earl.  Doug Keith opened.

Doug Keith looked familiar to us as soon as he stepped on stage, and it wasn't until after his set that we Googled his name and realized that he was the long-standing bassist and guitarist for Sharon Van Etten.  We vaguely even recall seeing hih and Heather Woods Broderick, also of Van Etten's band, open for Sharon at one of her Atlanta shows.  Thursday night, he played a very nice set of songs from his forthcoming album.  

Damien Jurado's set was probably  the best of several excellent sets we've seen from him.  He played solo without a band or any other accompaniment, and no effects pedals or other devices (he made good use of reverb and a repeater during his Saint Bartlet's tour).  Despite the austerity of the set-up, the songs were varied, interesting and inviting, and Jurado engaged in a long monologue about the personal difficulties he's experienced this year, providing some context to his songs and creating a close emotional bond with the audience. 

Damien Juarado's performances consistently rank in my Ten Best of each year, and last Thursday's performance was no exception.

On Friday night, we saw Birmingham band St. Paul & The Broken Bones at The Fox Theater. Atlanta's own MLK, Jr., High School Marching Band, the self-proclaimed Kings of Halftime, opened. 

Any show at The Fox is going to be great due to the ravishing architecture and design of the theater, and we've previously seen St. Paul before at The Fox's Egyptian Ballroom.  But last night, Paul Janeway and company had the big stage all to themselves, and filled the room nicely with their big soul and R&B sound, Janeway pacing back and forth from one end of the stage to the other when he wasn't wading into the audience. 

The band's newest album has a bit more of a pop/funk sound to it than the retro soul belter sound of their debut, but material from both albums sounded equally fine on Friday night, and all was well received by the excited audience.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones included a cover of The Beatles' I Want You (She's So Heavy) in their encore.

So, a pair of very different but both rewarding shows on two consecutive nights to take our minds, at least temporarily, off of the disappointment of this month's election.  And since we don't have another scheduled show to go to until December 7, this pair of shows is functionally an endcap to Rocktober 2016.

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