Swedish American Hall
September 5, 2006
Review by Jake Thomas
Two of my favorite singer-songwriters, playing an early show in one of my favorite venues…life could be a lot worse than this. I got there early to insure a good seat - though it never got packed, which personally dumbfounds me. I’ve seen packed Richard Buckner shows and sparsely attended ones as well, and I’ve never been able to figure out why one was crowded and not the other.
Eric Bachman and his two lady assistants/band mates/whatnot made their way to the stage, and the fine evening of soft, folky goodness began. The bulk of Bachman’s set was drawn from his new album “To the Races”, his first recording under his own name (outside of the score he did for the indie film “Ball of Wax”, and that material sounded more like his early solo stuff under the moniker Barry Black than it sounded like his current persona). He also managed a few hits from his past records, highlighted by the always-great “New Drink for an Old Drunk”. Sadly, no Archers of Loaf songs this time around but you never know when he will dig one of those chestnuts out and revert me back to a 20-year-old fanboy.
Despite my original thinking that this would be two solo acts, Richard Buckner came to the stage and proved I was wrong on both counts – he had in tow the one and only Doug Gillard, best known for his work with Guided by Voices over the past 7+ years as well as rockers Cobra Verde. He laid down a noisy electric guitar background for Buckner to strum and sing over in that awesome raspy voice that he possesses…one of the best voices in all of music if you ask me, and the reason I keep coming back for more. With Buckner’s use of loops and Gillard’s noodling, the set ran like one continuous song (not unlike his album “The Hill”) and he weaved in tracks both new and old; he seemed to especially want to play tracks from “Since”, which was a-ok with me since that is his best record in my opinion. The whole event had a very free-form feeling, as if there was no plan going in and he just sang and played whatever tune of his entered his brain. Maybe that was truly how it was, or maybe it was just some crafty calculation on his part, but either way it was damned enjoyable.