|Photos by Justin Weber|
Vanderslice opened the show by praising the quality of the backstage food and then proved his point by bringing out a giant bowl of kale to share with the audience. He played solo most of the night, but the gentle crunching of crispy kale from the audience provide some light percussion throughout the show.
Vanderslice paused between each song to tell stories and converse with the audience. Before “Convict Lake” he explained that the song was about the time he took too much acid and woke up in a hospital. He talked about the dangers of a rigid concept before singing “Scorpio Rising,” a song from a collaboration he did with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.
The set covered a large swath of Vanderslice’s career and he even played a killer cover of Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes.” To finish up, he took a request for “Exodus Damage” – despite it being “not the most elegant of tunes” in his words – and then brought on Crooked Fingers to provide some clapping while he played “Pale Horse.”
Crooked Fingers, while not as loquacious as Vanderslice, brought a quiet confidence to the stage. Eric Bachmann is a truly engaging frontman and his voice is fantastic live. The audience responded more vigorously to songs off of the band’s latest album, Breaks In The Armor, and easy easy to understand why. “Bad Blood,” “Typhoon,” and “War Horses” were played with intensity and they are going to be set highlights throughout this tour.
Of the quieter moments, “Sleep All Summer” was one of the best. Guitarist Liz Durrett seems shy, but she has a very beautiful voice and shows it off during the song.
Bachmann and Durrett came out for a brief encore to play “Your Control” without amplification. They’ve done this before, but it’s still cool to hear every time. Bachmann finished the night perfectly on solo piano covering the haunting “Chumming The Ocean” by his own Archers of Loaf.
John Vanderslice set list
Time to Go
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie Cover)
After It Ends
Sunken Union Boat
Crooked Fingers set list
Crowned in Chrome
I Am Not Willing (Moby Grape Cover)
She Tows the Line
Sleep All Summer
You Can Never Leave
Went to the City
White Trash Heroes (Archers of Loaf)
Your Control (Acoustic)
Chumming the Ocean (Archers of Loaf)