Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mark Eitzel, Iota, Arlington, VA, 1/25/07

This show obviously happened quite a while ago now, and I hadn't written it up yet partly out of laziness and partly because of the lack of artifacts to share. The club he played, Iota, has a no-photos policy (which plenty of camera-phoners ignored, but I like to keep in the club's good graces...) and I didn't notice any setlist to nab. But a cursory check of the January archives of the Eitzel listserv Firefly seems to suggest that no one wrote up the Arlington show, so maybe someone might appreciate this.

Eitzel strode in the small (natch) Iota just before local opener Vandaveer took the stage. I'd heard his name mentioned before as someone to watch on the local folk scene but had never caught him before, and I'm really glad I did. He's got a voice that goes down easy (it reminds me a bit of early Donovan), and the songs had a straightforward folk sound, but with enough spirit, tempo and invention to keep them from lapsing into trope territory. A female vocalist joined him toward the end of his set for a pretty cover of the Magnetic Fields' "Book of Love".

MP3: Vandaveer - However Many It Takes

I first saw Eitzel back in the mid-90s in Detroit, and it's never the same as the first time, which I hazily recall as a bracing chug of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster indie-folk style. But Eitzel live, especially solo, is always amazing and therapeutic. I can't recall if I'd seen "Patriot's Heart" performed solo before, but it was a highlight of the set, despite the presence of plenty of AMC gems, and that's even more satisfying; that you don't have to pretend to like the new stuff while patiently waiting for the oldies. He's still writing incredible songs.

The crowd was a pretty decent size, laughed at all the right times and hushed when called for too. Eitzel'd been sleeping in his car before the show, ambled on stage with a small acoustic guitar, and seemed to be enjoying himself, playing a longer set than other shows on the mini-tour.

Setlist: Last Harbour, Jenny, One Step Ahead, Heart and Soul (Joy Division; quickly aborted), Patriot's Heart, Rest of My Life (?), Western Sky, Jesus' Hands, Windows on the World, Another Morning, My Pet Rat St. Michael, Firefly, Sleeping Beauty, Home//All The Lost Souls of San Francisco, Johnny Mathis' Feet