Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Damien Jurado, Black Cat Backstage, Washington, DC, 10/9/06
Hoquiam/Now That I'm In Your Shadow/There Goes Your Man/Denton, TX/Tragedy/Gasoline Drinks/Abilene/What Were The Chances/Gillian Was a Horse/Lottery/December/Montesano//Roller Skating Queen/Ohio
Damien Jurado is now releasing records and touring as "Damien Jurado"...the band. Eric Fisher on guitar, keys, and drums and Jenna Conrad on cello...Damien Jurado, guitar and lead vocals. Take this as a gentle nod to, or swipe at, scores of songwriters who hide behind band-like names (Sparklehorse, Bright Eyes, Sun Kil Moon et al). The trio came to DC ready to rumble.
The cello was a new wrinkle for Jurado and a big boost to his live act, adding some ballast to his stark, lonely story-songs. While he can devastate all on his own - and did so in the encore, treating the longtime faithful to Trampoline b-side "Rollerskating Queen" and his best song, "Ohio" - Conrad's subtle playing payed dividends over the course of the set, which consisted mostly of unfamiliar songs from a new album that didn't come out until the next day. She also used a megaphone to whisper ghostly backing vocals on the new "What Were the Chances", one of the set's highlights.
Damien began Ghost of David's "December" on guitar, then made like Phil Collins and slipped behind the drum kit for a rousing rave-up ending. But the drummer for most of the set was Fisher, whose kicks on "Gillian Was a Horse" (a new song left off the album, but available for download in solo demo form below) gave the song just the right amount of low-key swagger, reminiscent of "Johnny Go Riding". He appeared in good spirits despite being robbed in Canada, leaving him to wear a Black Flag t-shirt three days straight. (Which was OK, because he likes Black Flag). He also ran into Ian Svevonius beforehand, and could not believe it.
Try to catch Jurado on his remaining dates, and check out these two demos Spin has kindly made available.
MP3: Damien Jurado - Gillian Was a Horse (demo)
MP3: Damien Jurado - And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (demo)