Thursday, August 03, 2006

After almost making excuses--the miserable weather, concert fatique, general fatique, a looming storm--Stevie and I made the short trek down to Schuba's for the second of two appearances from Grant-Lee Phillips. I was always more distantly approving of Phillips' old band Grant Lee Buffalo than rabidly enthusiastic about them, but I've really enjoyed his last couple of solo releases and his semi-regular appearances as Stars Hollow's trouboador on Gilmore Girls' has greatly endeared him to me. Phillips is touring behind his latest album nineteeneihties, a set of acoustic, stripped down '80s alt-rock classsics from New Order to Robyn Hitchcock to Echo And The Bunnymen. It sounds like blatant catnip for the thirtysomething coffeeshop crowd, and maybe it began that way, but it evolved into a terrific album that showcases Phillips' interpretive skills and deep, evocative voice. ("Male Vocalist of the Year, 1995 --Rolling Stone") Phillips didn't dig that deep into the album, which was a little odd, but the evening worked anyway. Playing with just a drummer since his bassist apparently hurt his back, he balanced some unapologetically dour songs with unexcpectedly upbeat, even slightly cheeseball patter. And he played my favorite GLB song, the title track from Mighty Joe Moon. When we came out, the weeks' long heat wave had given way to a violent, air-cooling storm. It was a good evening.

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