Thursday, August 25, 2011

Richard Buckner plays a stunning set at the ArtsCenter

All photos by Kevin Norris
Singer-songwriter Richard Buckner rolled into Carrboro Wednesday evening for a show at the ArtsCenter and brought his impressive catalog of songs with him.

After opening with the fantastic song "Traitor" from his new album Our Blood, Buckner rolled through a hefty set, pulling songs from his back catalog as far back as 1997's Devotion + Doubt.

He was accompanied by keyboard player Jeff Kazor helped filled out the songs bit, which came in handy on a number of the new tunes where keyboard lines are big hooks in the songs (see "Traitor" and "Confession"). But Buckner's unique deep voice and skillful guitar playing are the heart of the music, which shined throughout the evening.

Buckner seemed much more at home in front of the smaller ArtsCenter crowd than he did in 2009 in front of a packed house at the Cat's Cradle during XX Merge. While banter was still minimal, he did make a few jokes between songs and seemed much more relaxed.

As he returned for an encore, a woman shouted "I love you Richard," and he replied by thanking her and gratefully saying, "I may not even drink tonight." He closed the evening with "The Tether and the Tie" and "Before" from his 2006 album Meadow, capping a great night of music.

In an unusual switch for the evening, David Kilgour closed the show instead opening, which was unfortunate for him. Buckner blew the crowd away, leaving Kilgour to try and follow.

The show was awash with bright acoustic guitars and mumbled vocals, though a few songs from his band The Clean gave the set a boost, especially "In the Dream Life You Need a Rubber Soul" in the middle of the set and "Anything Could Happen," which closed the main set.

The songs just don't seem to work without a wall of electric guitars and a solid rhythm section. It didn't help that Kilgour didn't seem particularly into performing either. He complained about the lights being too bright multiple times, continued to wear sunglasses even after the stage was quite dark and turned his back to the crowd throughout the show. It was quite off-putting. I don't know if every show is like this, but I would hope not.

Richard Buckner set list
Tom Merritt
Ed's Song
Gauzy Dress in the Sun
William + Emily
A Chance Counsel
(Loaded @ the Wrong Door,
The Tether and the Tie

Richard Buckner

David Kilgour

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