May 31, 2005

Sunday night my wife, my sister, and I went to see Over the Rhine and Andrew Bird at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. The show was also broadcast live via Lightning 100, I don’t know if they will put the audio up online or not. Anyway, if I hadn’t been there, it would have been an amazing thing to hear Over the Rhine broadcast live on one of Nashville’s biggest radio stations. Now the question is why doesn’t the station play Over the Rhine in regular rotation?

3rd and Lindsley is a great venue, I have been aware of it for over 10 years, but somehow I had never been. It is a restaurant, with all of the seating being at tables or the bar. We got there early, about 6, and had to wait in line for the door to open. Glad we did though as the show ended up being sold out in advance, and we got great seats as most people had to stand. We sat at a table on the edge of the second floor and had a terrific view looking down on the stage. My sister took tons of pictures, I’ll try to get a link when she puts them online. Later on in the night Matt Slocum walked in and I wished we had saved him a seat, that would have been some good conversation (Always enjoyable to talk to the songwriter of my favorite band of all time!). I was hoping he would end up playing guitar or cello with Over the Rhine, but he ended up being there as a fan just like me.

The first artist, Kim Taylor, went on about 8:15 and played for about 30 minutes. I think I had heard her name before, but never her music. It was just her and acoustic guitar, It was OK. She has a great voice though, similar to Karin’s, and used some interesting effects on her guitar. The highlight of her set was her vocal imitation of a trumpet during her last song. “I know I look ridiculous when I do this,” she said, “Depending on the night it either sounds like a kazoo or a trumpet.”

Andrew Bird started the live broadcast at 9 p.m. He was INCREDIBLE. I had heard of him as well, only knowing that he had previously been the violinist for the Squirrel Nut Zippers. I intend to look at his website in depth later today. We actually heard his sound check as we waited in line outside, and I assumed he had at least 7 or 8 people on stage because of the full sound. I was surprised to discover when his set started that it was only him and a drummer! The first song started with Andrew picking his violin, recording it, playing it back, and then adding on the layers. The second part was him playing his violin normally, then whistling, then playing his electric guitar, then singing, and later playing his glockenspiel. Although he would only do one or two things at a time, he used effects to have all the different instruments going at once. He is easily the best whistler I have ever heard! The drummer played a keyboard on most songs with his left hand while he drummed, I can’t imagine trying to do that. Anyway, somehow two people pulled off the sound of a full band. This was impressive by itself, but the music was great as well. I would place the sound somewhere in between Sufjan Stevens and the Arcade Fire.

Over the Rhine went on at 10 as the radio broadcast was to end at 11. They continued to play after the radio part ended however. Their set list was:

Stella’s Tarantella (Drunkard’s Prayer)
I Want You to Be My Love (Drunkard’s Prayer)
Born (Drunkard’s Prayer)
Spark (Drunkard’s Prayer)
Lookin’ Forward (Drunkard’s Prayer)
Anything at All (Ohio)
Suitcase (Ohio)
Firefly (Drunkard’s Prayer)
All I Need Is Everything (Good Dog Bad Dog)
Cruel and Pretty (Ohio)
Moondance (cover of Van Morrison song)
-end of radio broadcast-
12. Faithfully Dangerous (Good Dog Bad Dog)
13. Latter Days (Good Dog Bad Dog)
-encore-
14. My Love is Fever (Eve)
I thought the set was just about perfect. I was thrilled for the inclusion of three songs from my favorite Over the Rhine release, ‘Good Dog Bad Dog.’ The played most of ‘Drunkard’s Prayer,’ as they are touring to support it, but I was surprised they did not perform the title track.

Instrumentally, one of the best Over the Rhine shows I have ever seen. The last time I saw Over the Rhine is was just Karin and Linford, so it was nice to have the full band. The line-up was:

Karin Berquist: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
Linford Detweiler: Piano, Electric Bass, Acoustic Guitar
Kim Taylor: Background Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Rick Plant: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Bass, Acoustic Fretless Bass
Devon Ashley: Drums

Most of the songs from the new album sounded identical to the studio versions. Kim Taylor’s vocals blended perfectly with Karin’s, it honestly sounded like Karin was backing up herself. I had never seen Linford play bass before, but he was excellent although looking awkward. Rick and Devon were both incredible, I had never seen them play before. On a few songs Rick, Devon, and Linford were essentially a jazz trio backing Karin’s vocals. The last 3 songs they played were all dramatically different than the album versions and included terrific instrumental solos and breakdowns.

I love Over the Rhine!

(Listening to: MxPx- ‘Panic’)

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