Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Josh Ritter, Eric Bachmann, Maria Taylor and... Pylon

I'm going to start with the headliner at the Cat's Cradle and work backwards I think.
Alt-whatever veteran Josh Ritter brought his lengthy tour for his CD The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter the the Chapel Hill last night with with all of the elan of someone who was just starting a tour, their first tour ever. Wide-eyed and astonished at the overflowing appreciative crowd, he kept thanking us for just showing up. The band, attired in 50's suits and porkpie hats began with a bang blasting through "Minds Eye" from the new CD with its clash-like opening chords. Other up-tempo notables were "Open Doors," the extra-chunky "Rumors" and "Still Beating". As raucous as it was it was the quiet moments that ultimately won the day. A drop dead gorgeous version of John Prine's "Mexican Home" was the first clue as to how versatile this show was going to be. "Temptation of Adam" and finally a beautiful version of Bruce Springsteen's "The River" done at the front of the stage off-mic sung to the pin-drop-quiet-audience who were reverently quietly singing along for the first encore.

Eric Bachmann's set was fluid, interesting and well-played. The former Archers of Loaf songwriter and guitarist was in fine voice and performed in an interesting duo format. Using loops, extra drums, megaphones, violin and electric and acoustic guitar
and sometimes singing in spanish to full effect, this set was engaging enough to make me find out more about Eric's solo records.

Maria Taylor was the surprise of the night for me. Elegant in person and voice, this poised young siren can really write and sing. A very effective duo of drums and a bass/guitarist as backup and as vocalists, this band really was in service to the songs.
If you get a chance to see Maria, don't miss it.


So after leaving the Cradle and strolling to the 506 to see Pylon hoping they were still playing, I lucked out. The Athens stalwarts were rocking the nearly packed bar 80's style. Decked out in red t-shirts that said "cool," Pylon still embodies the 80's indie spirit. Their clear, heavy, poppy sound entirely in tact, it was a pleasure to watch the crowd throb along. Highlights included "M-Train" and "No clocks".

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