Thursday, April 02, 2009

Lucinda Williams at Hamer Hall – 1st April 2009

Well I must admit that despite the high anticipation I had in seeing Lucinda Williams live for the first time, I came away from the concert somewhat disappointed. This had a lot to do with her accompanying band Buick 6. To my mind they did not really suit Lucinda’s style and when they performed a set before Lucinda’s main act, I, and no doubt others in the audience, felt a certain dismay. Their set was loud, self indulgent, and for a person like me who likes singers and vocals, boringly instrumental. There was even - horror of horrors – a drum solo!

I love rock ‘n roll, but I was not taken with Buick 6’s type of rock – it sounded too much of extended jam sessions which I generally loathe.

Local duo,
Luluc, opened the show before Buick 6 with a short and sweet set of quiet folk songs. It was quite a contrast to the rest of the show.

My mood and appreciation of the show was tempered by the person who accompanied me. He sat stony faced throughout the entire show and didn’t clap once. He, like me was put off by Buick 6’s set, but he wasn’t making any allowances for Lucinda, unlike me.

Lucinda however was good, though she appeared to be somewhat dazed and confused and was occasionally inarticulate. Jet lag? She did however make it easy to note the set list, giving the song title in most cases, before she performed it. She seemed to be enjoying herself despite her apparent dislocation, and her oh so distinctive voice was spot on.

It is a pity that so many of her songs sound the same. She is fond of repetitious phrasing, which can get a bit tiresome, song after song. To my mind, her earlier songs, like Pineola and Happy Woman Blues, and songs from Car Wheels On A Gravel Road are superior compositions. In the case of her more recent work, I did like her renditions of Tears of Joy, Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings and Essence.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get any good photos. For a start, I’d inadvertently brought the wrong camera and then the photo Gestapo were out in force, monitoring camera usage and telling people to turn their cameras off. Photo above is by Kip Karpik - obviously he had better luck and also had a much better camera than mine.

Set List for those interested.
1. Just Wanted To See You So Bad
2. Happy Woman Blues
3. Can’t Let Go
4. Circles And X’s
5. Well, Well, Well
6. Drunken Angel
7. Pineola
8. Side Of The Road
9. Jackson
10. Over Time
11. People Talkin’
12. Real Love
13. Tears Of Joy
14. Change The Locks
15. Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings
16. Come On
17. Essence
18. Joy
19. Honey Bee
20. Righteously

1. Disgusted (Lil’ Son Jackson Cover)
2. I Lived My Life (Fats Domino Cover)
3. Things I Used To Do (Guitar Slim Cover)
4. Every Picture Tells A Story (Faces Cover
5. Long Way To The Top (ACDC Cover)

Update 3/4/09:
I've changed the photo for a better one snapped by John (Kip) Karpik


John said...

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jillko said...

Always enjoy your reviews.
Oh well, I just loved that drum solo - I can't remember seeing such a powerful yet sensitive rock drummer live. And as I got into the auditorium late, I was thrilled to hear their version of that Television song from my ( youth. Not so sure about the ACDC cover though...
regards, Jillko

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

Mz Lucinda not afraid of the muffin-top-tee look.

Maybe she just did the AC/DC number for herself?
When a fan buys a ticket, it is easy for them to assume they own the performance.

It's a hard life on the road.
Going away now to listen to
(the old)
Steve Earle sing Guitar Town.

Jeremy said...

Well I gotta say I couldn't disagree more about Buick 6. I thought they gave the show a beautiful raw energy that complimented Lucy's beautiful raw voice just right. They never got in the way of each other (or her) and displayed amazing chops and musicianship. And I'm not even a guitarist!

I've only been listening to Lucinda for a few years. I've heard her whole back catalogue and I think it's been an honest progression from her earlier acoustic records to the more electric sound of little honey. She seemed to be having a lot of fun with that sound.

thanks for the setlist!

ps bought Luluc's album and it's great.

Tom said...

I just saw this show a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was great. It was the 4th time I've seen her over the years and not only was the band great but her voice was better than I've ever heard it live. I went with some worry after reading this review, but couldn't have been more pleased. Buick 6 was much better than expected, they opened the show with a instrumental set that at times sounded a bit Floydish. I left the show feeling like I got more than my $30 worth.

Anonymous said...

Belated comment - but I saw Lucinda in Providence RI in 2009. I've been to severeal of her concerts and this was one was terrible. Basically, she was drunk through most of the performance. Buick 6 tried to cover it up through noisy heavy metal guitar. There is a radio interview out there someplace in which a caller confronts Lucinda and her drinking - noting that it is ruining her performances.