Friday, May 04, 2007

Grant Lee Phillips @ Lakeshore Theater - 5/3/07

Grant Lee has a new album which came out about a month or so called "Strangelet". In my opinion, after a handful of listens, is that it's his best solo work to date. A little louder and more up tempo than Ladies Love Oracle and Virginia Creeper, not quite as electronic as Mobilize. For me, so far, it's the one I've most enjoyed listening to.

To start with, last night's show was a treat because it's the first time since late 2001 that GLP has toured with a more or less full band (him, bassist, drummer). And the whole thing was electric. There wasn't even an acoustic guitar on stage. Most of that is probably because the new album sort of lends itself to that setup more than the last two, but it also means that the old GLB stuff is really going to sound great.

Clearly last night's show was going to be heavy on the new album. One of the downsides of seeing an artist with so much material (nine albums by my count) to draw from is that you're virtually guaranteed to leave without hearing everything you wanted to hear, but that's only a small complaint. He mixed in about half and half. Incomplete and out of order setlist (by album):
  • Runaway
  • Soft Asylum (No Way Out)
  • Fountain of Youth
  • Hidden Hand
  • Chain Lightning (he opened with this one)
  • Johnny Guitar
  • Raise the Spirit (video below)
  • Calamity Jane
  • Far End of the Night
  • Don't Look Down
  • Truly, Truly, Truly
  • Honey Don't
  • Mockingbirds
  • Lone Star Song (closed with this one)
  • Fuzzy
  • Wish You Well, which I'd never seen him do live before in the six or seven times that I've seen him.
Nothing off of Mobilize, Nineteeneightees, or Copperopolis.

It's truly an experience to see him live because he's either a great actor, or he really does love performing. More than anyone I've ever seen live, he really has a good time bantering with the crowd between songs, and that gets everyone into the show.

The down part last night was that "everyone" was a pretty small crowd. In addition to that, Lakeshore Theater is not a particularly good venue for a rock show. It's exactly what it says it is, a theater. As in, like a movie theater. It would be a great place to see a play, or a lecture. It's not a good place to see rock show. I don't like to sit at concerts, but you really didn't have a choice at this one. In addition, it was about three times too big for size of the crowd, especially for show in which the headliner was taking the stage at 11:00 on a Thursday night. This would have been a fantastic show at Schuba's. It was still a very good show, but the venue left a lot to be desired. That's not a knock on the theater itself. It just wasn't the right venue for this performance.

Speaking of Schuba's, Michael Penn comes to town next week.


Anonymous said...

Mockingbirds is a fucking a great song!

I just saw the Mary Chain in Pomona, CA. It was awesome.


Seitz said...

I'm hoping they do a proper tour. I would have loved to have seen them. I couldn't care less about most of the bands at Coachella, but I wanted to see them.

But you probably had the VIP package and shit, huh?