Monday, November 26, 2012

Duncan Sheik - Courrier -- Birchmere - Nov 25 2012

Courrier - It is unfortunate this band does not cover Charles Ives, denying me an audio pun. But this Austin quartet conjures up some interesting sounds during their short set. There is certainly that heartland Americana sound, but with shimmering guitars, treated bass sounds, and power drumming, you get an interesting European/American hybrid. I heard a bit of Fleet Foxes and Taken by Trees merged with whatever your favorite recent British pop rock band. Some times this a bit overly grand, but the songs were attractive and they had a nice approach. The modest crowd enjoyed this, as did I.

Duncan Sheik - Sheik performs on guitar with two guys on keyboards/glockenspiel and drums. Even if you did not know his history (which I did not, even though I knew the name), you could sense the intelligence behind his music. It is comforting enough with folk and rock moves, but it is well written and thought through. His voice is outstanding and reminds me of a confident Nick Drake at times with touches of Ralph McTell and the jazzier Donovan. There is assured delivery throughout and most of the songs strike deeply and pull you in. He has done a covers album recently, so you have interesting takes on Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears among others. He also invited Laura Warshauer (on tour with him, but oddly not playing tonight) out for a duet on a piece he wrote for theater, "I Don't Do Sadness". The enthusiasm in the modest crowd was good tonight, and he was thankful people got out on the holiday weekend, which can be a challenge. Smooth and thoughtful music was a great way for me to get back into the swing of hitting the clubs, and I went home quite happy tonight.

Quote of the Night - From the opening band during first stage patter... "We've been touring with Duncan Sheik and you guys are in for a real treat... from him, not us."

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