Friday, November 12, 2010

Richard Shindell at Passim

Got one of the front tables at Club Passim for a Thursday night show with Richard Shindell on Veteran's Day 2010. As with most concerts we've been to there, we met some people who were middle-aged and reasonable but were fanatics of the artist we were about to see. Rose Cousins opened with some neat songs with unexpected stops and starts. Then Richard came on, looking a bit unshaven in a flannel shirt like a good folk-singer, accompanied by his long-time bassist, Lincoln Schleifer and new guitarist Marc Shulman.

Shindell left the guitar heroics to Shulman (he rubbed the strings with his palm and blew on them to make another strange sound) and concentrated on the vocals, to great effect. They opened with three new songs and then covered all the chestnuts, including: Fishing, Northbound 35, Arrowhead, Are You Happy Now?, There Goes Mavis, You Stay Here, Transit, Reunion Hill, and perhaps others I forget. This seems like a conservative formula and perhaps they were trying to pace themselves on the first of a two-night gig. But jeez, what powerful, wonderful, lyric songs he's written! The imagery of Reunion Hill, the wit and faith expressed by Transit, and the life lessons embodied in Arrowhead shone through, even if you've heard the songs a million times. To see Shindell himself preaching them to you in his mellow way is something not to be missed.

The band encored with a Dylan song and then wrapped up an early "school night."

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