Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Silver Jews

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Silver Jews, "Punks In The Beer Light"

Silver Jews, "Animal Shapes"

Silver Jews, "There Is A Place"

I made it to the second show of the mini-tour last night, Silver Jews at the Starlight Ballroom. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend with MC, and couldn't find anyone else to take my extra ticket, so I had to be one of those creepy loners who go to concerts. Not a good luck, trust me. Anyway, I got there towards the end of the opening act, while two women playing acoustic guitars were completely drowned out by the people in the audience who were not listening. It was actually quite sad, and fortunately ended after a few songs.

After a 20 minute break, David Berman and his Silver Jews came on stage for their first Philly show ever. As Berman told the crowd at one point, he considered this only their ninth show ever. Honestly, it kinda showed. There was a sense of uncertainty, a rehearsal feel at times (especially when songs would peter out), Berman read most of the lyrics off of a music stand, and there seemed to be a general sloppiness on the opening songs.

This is a weird one, as I am not a fan of Silver Jews or David Berman. I'm not not a fan either, I just don't have much knowledge of the band, came to it only on the recommendation of MC. Therefore, the thrill of seeing them on stage on their first ever tour was lost on me. Likewise, I didn't know the songs well, and didn't have any sense when they were digging into their back catalogue for some great song of the past.

In spite of that, the show wasn't bad. I started to get into the sound as the night went by, as Berman is a magnetic figure. He seems to be a complete neurotic, constantly rubbing his face and running his fingers through his hair. He told an incredibly funny Adam and Eve joke. He seemed overwhelmed at times. He also has a voice that is deep and gravelly, which takes some getting used to. I know that's weird coming from someone who has made a living glorifiying some of the most villified voices (like Dylan and Garcia), but deal with it. I actually found some of my favorite moments to be the songs where his female bassist (and wife?) sung the lead or traded vocals with Berman. It provided a nice mix and a little bit of diversity to the sameness of their sound that came up on each and every song.

This tour is in support of the most recent Silver Jews album, Tanglewood Numbers, the first in four years. It's another album that has grown on me, although not as much as the Jenny Lewis one. Silver Jews are better to me as a recorded entity, where you can hear the lyrics of Berman clearly. Go here and buy the album, if you're looking for country rock music, a polished hi-fi record (not that lo-fi shit that your older sister liked) and amazing lyrics.

-Next show: Animal Collective at the Starlight. I'm already sick of music and people, so wish me luck.


Happy In Bag said...

The Creepy Loners would be a great band name.

Brendan Dugan said...

PFP getting props from Best Week Ever blog. Big ups to the Bear himself. Its about to get huge.