Last night the bf and I went to check-out Thomas Dolby at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre (he's got two more shows lined up for tonight so it's not too late to check him out if you live in New York City).
I had never been to Joe's Pub but did not like the venue the moment I walked in. It was crowded, there were tables set up for people who had made dinner reservations, and a really small standing room space for those people who chose not to dine during the concert. At the very least, it was a small venue so that you could actually see most of the performance from pretty much everywhere you stood. The crowd was a mix of people in the mid to upper 30's, a bunch'o'gay guys and, in one annoying case, the younger girlfriend of a guy about my age who kept asking why people seemed to be so much into music she'd never heard. Then again, there were the couple of guys who seemed to think they were in a VH1 "Whatever Happened to..." concert and kept shouting stuff at Dolby.
The show ran into some technical difficulties as Thomas Dolby would introduce a song, for example, and the computers would play another; at a couple of spots, the sound dropped out altogether. All in all though, it was a truly enjoyable night with some highlights including great renditions of "I Live in a Suitcase" and "Hyperactive" among other songs. Surprisingly, most of the repertoire came from the earlier albums rather than "The Flat Earth" or "Astronauts and Heretics."
For a couple of the songs he simply broke down the layered sounds of the songs and allowed the audience to see how he constructed their melodies. You can check what I mean by taking a look at "The Flat Earth" on his website (although last night he simply allowed the tracks to speak for themselves instead of giving a spoken tour - allow time for the full clip to download).
For the most part, the song structures followed those of the original versions with some thrilling exceptions, including the cacophonously funky new intro for "Airhead" (which he did as an encore). In "Wind Power" and a couple of other songs, a hypnotic looped-in beat made me wonder what bands like Gus Gus could do with these tracks.
With additional concerts added to his New York stop, I'm not sure what the man thought about last night's audience. His blog allows you to have a different perspective on what it means to put a tour like this together.
Mostly, it felt bizarre that after all these years, I was able to see Thomas Dolby live. He's certainly been the soundtrack to some of my memories.
In any case, the music Gods are smiling down on me. Next up, if I can make it, Roisin Murphy at Danny Krivit's "718 Sessions" at Club Deep this coming Sunday. On Saturday she's also appearing at Cielo.
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