March 31, 2009

"I'd Be Lyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyying"

In listening to Greg Laswell's album, I became a little overwhelmed by the production. It was just a little over the top at times. Too clean, if you will. I assumed that, live, the songs would take on a life that isn't really represented on the album. My assumptions were correct.

After a stunning and, I felt, under appreciated performance by the striking Denver musician Ellison Park, Greg Laswell humbly took the stage.

Sitting at keyboard just outside the spot light, Greg placed his hands on the keys, swaying slightly, and began to build a melody. After a few moments, he awoke from his trance, lifted his head, and started his first song. The audience, most of which, it seemed, were there for the evening's headliner (Rachael Yamagata), wasn't too focused on Greg until his slightly scratchy vocals seeped through the speakers, but after a moment on the mic, the bar quieted down, head turned, and Greg was on fire.

Now, fire has many properties. This was no wildfire, but a slow-burning, soft and crackling fire that you light to throw the pictures of an ex-lover into. Only Greg himself knows the depths of what may have been a raging inferno, but the audience that night surely grasped that there was something ablaze in Mr. Laswell.

Songs on the album that were previously bogged down by overproduction showed their true sincerity when the lone Mr. Laswell plucked their strings and sang their words, and songs that I previously assumed perfect on the album gained an entirely new meaning once I heard them yelped and belted out on stage. His voice, dry and tired due to travel and the altitude here in the Mile High, took on a hoarse, coarse quality that only added to the emotions burning inside the spirited Mr. Laswell.

To lighten the mood a little, Greg told funny little anecdotes about his songs, about his night, about the flowers on stage which he took complete credit for (He just wouldn't have accepted going on tour with Rachael if she didn't let him have his flowers on stage). If his music wasn't enough to win a crowd, then his banter was doing it's part to fill in the gap. Quite the charmer, Mr. Laswell.

After only one song anyone who was there for Ms. Yamagata was equally as pleased with Mr. Laswell's performance. Okay, well I guess I can't really make that assumption, but when he left the stage, there were many moans of malcontent. I was a little disappointed not to hear my favorite song on the new album, "I'd Be Lying," and just as he stepped off the stage, I heard a woman to my right yell out the title of the track I'd been missing, which got my hopes up a little and, out of character, I yelled out somehting like "yeah! I'd Be Lying," (I'm not much of a song-asker), but Greg was cooked, and it was not too much of a disappointment that he did not retake the stage. I talked to him after, and he said that the song is a little hard to pull off live, it being in 5/4 and all.

Greg Laswell - I'd Be Lying
Greg Laswell - The One I Love
Greg Laswell - Days Go On

Did you miss him? come to these shows then (He'll be back in May):

Mar 31 2009 8:00P: Crocodile Cafe w/ Rachael Yamagata Seattle, Washington

Apr 2 2009 8:00P: Slim’s w/ Rachael Yamagata San Francisco, California

Apr 4 2009 8:00P: Troubadour w/ Rachael Yamagata Los Angeles, California

Apr 6 2009 8:00P: House of Blues w/ Rachael Yamagata San Diego, California

Apr 21 2009 8:00P: Detroit Bar (w/ Lenka) Costa Mesa, California

Apr 25 2009 10:00P: Hotel Cafe Los Angeles, California

Apr 27 2009 8:00P: Martini Ranch (w/ Lenka) Scottsdale, Arizona

Apr 29 2009 8:00P: The Launch Pad (w/ Lenka) Albuquerque, New Mexico

May 1 2009 8:00P: Urban Lounge (w/ Lenka) Salt Lake City, Utah

May 2 2009 8:00P: Fox Theatre (w/ Lenka) Boulder, Colorado

May 8 2009 8:00P: Canal Room New York, New York

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