Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Six Organs of Admittance - Donovan Quinn - Lithia Corsica -- DC9 - Aug 16 2011

Lithia Corsica - A woman named Marian is the creative force known as Lithia Corsica. She plays both electric and acoustic guitar with her vocals. The guitar picking is in a dreamy style, especially with the electric creating a light ethereal backdrop. The vocals and the folk style that leans toward psyche folk remind me a lot of one of my favorites (and first time mention in this long running blog), Veronique Chalot.  Although vocally this may be a bit closer to Joanna Newsome, and the physical resemblance to Chalot is working hard in my mind. What I can make out of the lyrics shows some pretty good songwriting. The 25 minutes breezed by and Marian did a great job of getting this show started. A brief assist from a cellist on the last cut was a nice bonus.

Donovan Quinn - With a name like Donovan and going solo on stage with guitar, there are things going on in the minds of the audience before you hit a note. Mr. Quinn did not hit anywhere near the heights of Mr. Leitch, but did perform a nice enough acoustic set in the manner of very early Donovan Leitch. One song featured some nice fingerpicking that had fuzzy soft strokes with enough electric bite on the pickups when struck more firmly. It's a good sound that increased the drama of the song. The set went along smoothly enough, but was enhanced by Ben Chasny (he is Six Orders of Admittance) popping up on guitar and vocals for a couple of songs. The vocal interplay was particularly effective. Decent enough job to keep the show moving along.

Six Organs of Admittance - Ben Chasny has performed under this band name for over a decade. He has done it solo, with guests, and with full band sounds. I have seen him three times in DC, once with the wildly rocking and brilliant Comets on Fire, once with the intriguing super-trio Rangda, and once at the DC9 under his band name. He performed solo then with a guest about half of the set. Tonight was fully solo, simply acoustic guitar and microphone. Of course nothing is simple, if you have heard Chasny play. He is a guitar master somewhere between John Fahey and Robbie Basho. He also has loads of Eastern moves that have been previously used so effectively by guitarists like Davy Graham and others. Chasny really had the sound down tonight and delivered a far superior set than the last time in town (which was a good enough set I thought at the time). He had an amazing drone string that really created spacey overtones with the finger picking playing all kinds of complex runs around the drone. I am not sure I have ever heard someone quite come up with a sound like that before. His vocals were good in his usual understated way. Probably more effective than good, but the overall effect was to hit the trippier psychedelic side of his music. No surprise that he dedicated a song to the late Jack Rose, who was another one of the fine US guitarists. I was happy to see a fairly large crowd who was quite enthusiastic tonight. Ben Chasny is someone that is worth a listen in any format he plays in.

Quote of the Night: Chasny after a couple guys made requests... "Yeah, well I can't get out of this last song--My guitar will get pissed."

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