Bradley's Almanac

Live Mp3s: David Bazan house show in Beverly, MA

Posted on September 18, 2009 at 9:54 am | No Comments

Many of us are feeling (or, rather, listening to, or playing) the after-effects of the recently-ended ‘Beatles Week‘, but for me it was immediately preceded by what was most definitely ‘Bazan Week‘. It started on Friday, August 28th in the afternoon when Seattle-based David Bazan arrived in Massachusetts and gifted his Twitter followers with an impromptu dry-run online-webcast (sadly, since deleted) that had him and his longtime pal/collaborator TW Walsh (behind the drum kit) running through a couple of old Pedro the Lion tunes (“When They Really Get To Know You They Will Run” and “Penetration“) in TW’s basement. It was a nice teaser for the reason he’d hit our state: An intimate, acoustic house show in Beverly, MA to showcase songs from his almost-out solo record, “Curse Your Branches”. I’m going to resist getting all hyperbolic here, and let the recorded songs that follow sing for themselves. These digital files won’t fully capture the vibe, but in short: It was the kind of night that’ll spoil regular club shows for while. Very little else compares. Picture the set below being performed about 4 feet in front of your seated spot on a candle-lit livingroom floor. Yeah.

That special evening was made slightly more special in an additional way: It was the first time fans could hold the new DB disc in their hands, to have a look at the spiffy packaging, to take one home and dive on in. For me, well, I’d pre-ordered it, so I’d have to wait… but not for long. Just 8 hours after driving back to Boston my mailman handed me a package from Undertow: A copy of “CYB” and the limited edition bonus 7″ that has David sharing his versions of two covers he’d been performing for awhile: Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah” and Dylan’s “The Man In Me“. Now that’s what I call a good start to a Saturday.

An aside on that little seven-inch – Yes, “Hallelujah” has been covered way, way too much. Hell, that’s been the case for quite awhile, and with Cohen having taken his own version on the road this year, any new interpretation is long-since redundant. But having seen Dave play it live, well before LC’s road reemergence, I’d been hoping we’d hear DB’s own run-through somehow. So it arrives, and yes, it’s beautiful. According to the man himself, he’d put down this recording before L.C. asked people to stop covering it, so rather than burying it forever, he figured a very limited pre-order vinyl gift was in order. To get it out there, but kind of not. A good call. By the way, if you happened to miss out on that limited wax, you can get “The Man In Me” digitally via iTunes. No “Hallelujah”, though.

As solid as the “Curse Your Branches” online pre-order/preview stream sounded, headphoning the real-deal disc made for a wonderfully soundtracked weekend (next up: the vinyl). The aforementioned Mr. Walsh outdid himself in the mixing/mastering of this sucker… you can hear the attention to detail on all 10 tracks.

To put a fine point on that weekend, and to mark the official release of “CYB” on Tuesday, Sept. 1st, David hit Brooklyn for another house show on Monday night, and for the first time, the entire intimate event was live-video-streamed online (and archived!). Next best thing to being there. And the very next day, he debuted his new full band with an invite-only show at Piano’s in NYC, a couple of clips from which can be found at ABCNews, who also interviewed DB for their online Amplified program. That’s a genuine media-blitz, ladies and gents. “Curse Your Branches” is charting on Billboard, fer chrissakes. How ’bout that?

David will be bringing that full band out on the road for a 5-week tour starting on October 1st (speaking of which, help him buy a van to make that happen, get a cool t-shirt), and any Boston-based readers would do well to get advance tix for the October 20th show at TTs (openers are Say Hi and TW Walsh’s The Soft Drugs, even more reason to get tix early). If you missed out one of the many house shows David’s done this year, have no fear, he’s going to keep doing ’em. And if you’re lucky, one will be close to you (and you’d better be paying attention… they sell out fast). Until he comes your way, enjoy this…

David Bazan

An intimate house performance
in Beverly, MA
on Friday, August 28th, 2009

01. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box (Radiohead)
02. Hard To Be
03. Priests and Paramedics
04. Q&A 1
05. Harmless Sparks
06. Transcontinental
07. Q&A 2
08. Curse Your Branches
09. Please, Baby, Please
10. Q&A 3
11. Hot Girls
12. Lost My Shape
13. Options
14. Q&A 4
15. When We Fell
16. a Q from DB
17. Bless This Mess
18. Cold Beer and Cigarettes
19. Q: “Can we have a sing-a-long?” Answer:
20. Big Trucks (sing-a-long)
21. banter – “a show in denton
22. In Stitches

Some Bazan-flavored links…

  • His official site, MySpace page, Wikipedia entry, Undertow Music page, and Barsuk label page. You may also wanna keep tabs on the forum for the latest DB happenings.
  • Additional Audio: Hit up the Barsuk Mp3 page for a couple of free tracks, including “Bless This Mess” from the new album, and “Cold Beer and Cigarettes” from his 2007 “Fewer Moving Parts” EP. And thanks to the forum, I learned that DB’s got a track (the traditional “Hard Times“) on a new compilation titled “Come O Spirit! Anthology Of Hymns And Spiritual Songs Volume 1”. He gets vocal backup on the song from Rosie Thomas, J. Tillman, and John & Chris Totten.

    For future audio action, keep an eye on Daytrotter, as David recently stopped by there for a session. He’ll also being doing a session for Sirius XMU on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd, which will be replayed a few times in the days following. Glad my VW came equipped.

    update: oddly, as I was publishing this post, someone on mentioned that Dave was on Sirius XMU right now. Sure enough, when I hit the online stream, there he was. Got to hear him perform an acoustic version of “Bearing Witness“, before which the host said “thanks for spending time with us this week.” So I have no idea what that means for the 9/23 date, or the replays. We shall see. speculative update: Perhaps the 23rd will compile his appearances that happened throughout this week? That’s my guess.

  • Video: Well, in addition to the scads of clips in a YouTube search, there’s that Brooklyn house show and the two Amplified clips mentioned above.
  • Photos: My Flickr-hosted DB shots are here. Check out the full Bazan tag search. I am greatly amused by the first pic that appears in that search.
  • Upcoming tourdates:The dates for the upcoming David Bazan full-band tour are…

    10/01 – San Francisco CA – Independent
    10/02 – Costa Mesa CA – Detroit Bar
    10/03 – San Diego CA – Casbah
    10/04 – Los Angeles CA – Troubadour
    10/05 – Tucson AZ – Solar Culture
    10/07 – Austin TX – Mohawk
    10/08 – Denton TX – Dan’s Silverleaf
    10/09 – Memphis TN – Hi-Tone Cafe
    10/10 – Murray KY – Lovett Auditorium / Murray State
    10/11 – Birmingham AL – Bottletree
    10/13 – Orlando FL – The Social
    10/14 – Atlanta GA – Drunken Unicorn
    10/15 – Chapel Hill NC – Cat’s Cradle
    10/16 – Washington DC – Black Cat
    10/17 – Philadelphia PA – Kung Fu Necktie
    10/18 – New York NY – Bowery Ballroom
    10/20 – Cambridge MA – TT the Bear’s
    10/21 – Montreal QC – Il Motore
    10/22 – Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace
    10/23 – Pontiac MI – Pike Room
    10/24 – Chicago IL – Schuba’s
    10/25 – Champaign IL – Highdive
    10/27 – Madison WI High – Noon Saloon
    10/28 – Minneapolis MN – Turf Club
    10/29 – Iowa City IA – The Picador
    10/30 – Lawrence KS – Jackpot Saloon
    10/31 – Omaha NE – Slowdown
    11/01 – Denver CO – Hi Dive
    11/02 – Salt Lake City UT – Kilby Court
    11/05 – Vancouver BC – Media Club
    11/06 – Portland OR – Mississippi Studios
    11/07 – Seattle WA – Neumos

    Every one of those dates get you the added bonus of Say Hi. As I mentioned, our Cambridge show also hooks you up with some Soft Drugs, and Seattle delivers The Sea Navy. That’s as it should be.

  • Easily stream any and all ‘Nac-hosted Mp3s at the Hype Machine, because you can.
  • the fine print… If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available (since I got permission, that’d be weird), just let me know (my contact info in the ‘nac faq link on the left). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed, even if you beg. Sorry ’bout that.


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  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
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