Witness Blues

Elvis Perkins In Dearland w/ A.A. Bondy
Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you were at the Mercy Lounge Tuesday night, you never would have guessed that Nashville had been experiencing sunshine and 75 degree temperatures just two days earlier. It seemed like everyone in attendance had spent the indian summer weekend digging their winter clothes out of the back of the closet. Every other person was wearing either a sweater, scarf, knit hat, or some combination of the three.

For a while it seemed like the openers would be experiencing the familiar curse of a Nashville weeknight crowd, but just as A.A. Bondy and his bandmates were taking the stage, people materialized seemingly out of nowhere, and the place ended up being about two-thirds full. They also were surprisingly attentive and respectfully quiet throughout the mostly subdued hour long set, so much so that Bondy thanked them several times for being such a great crowd. With just three people on stage, the songs from Bondy's most recent album, When The Devil's Loose, were much less atmospheric than on record, making the sound much closer to that of his debut album. The only hints of the former Verbena frontman's rock and roll past were during a distortion drenched ending to "Slow Parade," and the cacophony of noise that "Killed Myself When I Was Young" decsended into. Only two songs approached the lushness of their album versions: "Mightest of Guns," on which his drummer played pedal steel, and the closer "I Can See The Pines Are Dancing," when they were joined on stage by Elvis Perkins and two of his bandmates. Don't take that as a complaint though. It might have been a laid back, bluesy set, but it was also utterly fantastic.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland is one of those bands where every member seems to play at least three different instruments. So despite only being a four piece, it looked like the stage was setup for Arcade Fire or Belle And Sebastian. Perkins kicked off the set solo before being joined by his bandmates. And three songs in, Bondy returned the favor affored during his set by joining them on guitar for "Doomsday," the title track to Perkin's most recent release. While not a huge fan, I'd heard several Perkins songs before. But before Tuesday night it had never occured to me that he often sounds a bit like Paul Simon fronting the Decemberists. That's a cool combination, but it couldn't overcome the fact that I was tired and it was a school night, so I ended up heading home about halfway through their set.

Elvis Perkins - "While You Were Sleeping" (mp3) from Ash Wednesday
Elvis Perkins In Dearland - "Slow Doomsday" (mp3) from The Doomsday EP
A.A. Bondy - "When The Devil's Loose" (mp3) from When The Devil's Loose
A.A. Bondy - "There's A Reason" (mp3) from American Hearts

photo of A.A. Bondy by minervacat


I wanted to go to this show since it was announced, but I had no one to go with. I would love to hear "Shampoo" and "While You Were Sleeping" and "123 Goodbye" live. You are so lucky!
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