First off, a quick heads-up: You may have heard about the Jed Davis/Reeves Gabrels show coming up this Saturday at Howlers. I just got word that the show's been postponed until December. Weird Paul, who was slated to open, will still be playing on Saturday.
Now then, a couple thoughts inspired by last night's Van Dyke Parks/Clare & the Reasons show, then I'll shut up about it. Though if you were there, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments section!
- While things loosened up a little when VDP took the stage (as happens often when the headliner appears, that's why openers are expected to warm up the crowd), I was put off by how stoic the crowd was during Clare & the Reasons. To be fair, their quiet pop wasn't raucous stuff that encourages a lot of interaction, but the band members were charming, and told jokes, and asked questions, and got barely a peep from the audience. It was reminiscent of the show Baby Dee played a couple years ago at Frick Fine Arts: an artist is striving to engage, and is genuinely funny, but the crowd doesn't respond at all. Why? Was it because the crowd was, erm, slightly gray-er and maybe not accustomed to rock shows?
- One of the moments that stuck out to me from Van Dyke's set was when he took the opportunity -- without being pressed -- to expound a little on his adaptations of the Uncle Remus tales for his Jump! album (and related children's books). As he began the intro to the second song he played from Jump! he ad-libbed "No shame, no shame!" Afterward, he noted that he was against censorship in all forms, and that he thought that preserving the stories without the racial stereotyping used to contextualize the tales in the Joel Chandler Harris book (and in Disney's Song of the South).
- Van Dyke ended the set (pre-encore) with a rendition of "Heroes and Villians" accompanied by Clare & the Reasons; the arrangement wasn't overwhelming, but the whole situation -- especially the slowed-down mid-song verse reprise that starts "I've been in this town so long/ So long to the city" -- had a heart-pounding excitement to it. The charming little man has a stage presence that can't be denied.
Anyone out there who was at the show have thoughts?