Low / Damien Jurado
The Independent
March 4, 2006

Review by Jake Thomas

Damned bridge traffic, making me miss part of the beloved Damien Jurado’s set! I don’t think I missed much though, as he played a number of songs after I got there. And while I’m damning things – damned “no flash” policy at the Independent! I managed to work my way up to the front and snap a couple of pictures of the man, but then the long arm of the law, err, bouncer came down upon me with their goofus policies. So there I was standing up front, a camera loaded with 100 speed film, so non-flash photos were right out.

It’s a good thing Damien is such an amazing performer, as to help me forget this atrocity (and the morons standing in front of me who spent the entire show staring at each other and making out). As opposed to his typical solo performances, this go-around he had a cute female cello player who helped with the backing vocals and a dude pulling a “Steven Drozd” and playing drums, keyboards, guitar, and other random sound makers. It added a nice dynamic to the mostly new material that was performed, and really makes me curious to hear if this is how it pans out in recorded form. On his website he’s claiming the new material is some of his best yet, but all artists say that don’t they? Nonetheless, my zillionth time seeing Damien Jurado and his voice never loses that magic that keeps me coming back over and over again.

In fact, Damien was the deciding factor in my attendance at this shindig – for some reason I wasn’t feeling the Low show this go around, which happens from time to time. They always sound fantastic in a live setting, but you couldn’t actually describe it as exciting by any means. I think the ideal setting for seeing this band would be in a field, out in the country, lying back on lawn chairs gawking up at the stars. I don’t suppose that will be happening anytime soon though…

But it was a good show, despite the stillness of it all. Since the last time I saw them, their long-time bassist Zak Sally left the band and they were touring with some fresh-faced kid whose name escapes me. It was weird not seeing Zak’s constantly surly glares coming from the left side of the stage, but the new kid did a fine job so all was well. As they were getting started, someone in the crowd yelled out “play something depressing” - to which Alan responded “get a load of this shit”, and well, they played some of their depressing songs. The band sounded very tight as usual, and their set list spanned across their entire catalogue, managing to play what seemed like everything but my favorite songs, and played very few of the tracks where Mimi does most of the singing (which may be redundant as those are mostly my favorite songs). The sound was as good as I’ve ever heard the band, a perfect balance of everything, like a gourmet dish…turns out they had brought along some dude that generally records them, so it all made sense. The Independent is a pretty good sounding club to begin with, but the mix that evening was just too good for a regular sound guy. All told, a good outing that I’m glad I didn’t skip out on.

Check out our previous Low experiences:
Review: March 29, 2005 @ Great American Music Hall
Review: February 26, 2004 @ Great American Music Hall
Review & Photos: November 13, 2002 @ Great American Music Hall
April 18, 2001 @ Great American Music Hall

Check out our previous Damien Jurado experiences:
Review: June 10, 2003 @ Bottom of the Hill
November 5, 2002 @ Bottom of the Hill
& May 21, 2002 @ Slim's

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