Sunday, October 22, 2006

North of the south

Jolie Holland is sometimes compared to Neko Case. She got her music off the ground in B.C., moved back to the States to pursue her career and likes red hair dye. I don't have any of her albums, but live I get the impression she's been influenced by people like Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Willie Nelson. I'm not sure if it's a Texas thing, or her band's influence, but there was that mixture of blues and jazz that makes me think of Texas music.
She came to a very chilly Barrymore's with much-acclaimed singer-songwriter David Dondero. He provided some vocals on Jolie Holland's latest album, Springtime Can Kill You, so he was a natural opener.
Dondero started off in alternative rock territory and moved into rootsy folk. He's been compared to Townes Van Zandt, among others. I found myself thinking of Smog while he worked his way through his set.

In addition to singing one her last album, Dondero's co-written a tune with Holland. She came up on stage to play some square fiddle and sing on a few numbers.

He also invited her two bandmates up to finish off his set. Nate Lombard played guitar during Holland's set; as you can see he also plays clarinet.

Dave Mihaly on drums.

There was a lengthy gap between the conclusion of his set and the start of Holland's; I get the impression they arrived too late for a proper soundcheck, so there was more setting up and shifting about of microphones than usual. When it did start, there was an informal air to the show with Holland telling the audience to shout up any requests they might have.

A cover of Freakwater's Louisville came early in the set.

It started off dark in Barrymore's and finished up darker. "We'd like it to be like the bat exhibit" she told the lighting guy. Even at f 2.0 and 1/60th of a second, Nate's looking mighty grainy.

Fingerless gloves - not just a fashion statement but a necessity. It was chilly enough to send me back to the coat check to retrieve my jacket.

I tried a few shots with flash that didn't work out well. A security guy asked me to stop, but by then I'd already concluded there was no point in going on.

Holland and Co.!

For the encore she agonized over what song to play before settling on Tom Waits' A Little Bit of Rain. I'd guess about 80 people showed up. Barrymore's seemed fairly empty; the Rainbow would have been a more suitable venue. At least the crowd was quite appreciative.

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