Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Richard Buckner at the Shaw Center, Baton Rouge, 9/14/2010

Richard Buckner at the Shaw Center, Baton Rouge, 9/14/2010

I am given to hyperbole about him, I know, but Richard Buckner is an amazing and singular talent. Nuclear fusion takes place in the dash in his version of singer-songwriter. He rotated through three guitars and a decade plus of songs in with Swiss clock precision, letting the intricate fugues of one forlorn, elliptical tune evolve into that of the next, all the while towering, brooding into the mic with a soul-pained scowl. It was a little like having one of the heads on Mt. Rushmore sing to you.

E-Bow should give this guy an endorsement deal, for he seems to be the only owner of one that uses it in the service of music than against it. E-bow's  are fun - I have one - but they are generally best kept in the rare quiet hours of guitar solitude when you want to pretend you are a one man bad Santana. Buckner creates locust swarms on the fly using it and loop pedals, stark landscapes in which his tunes unfold. They should've had him soundtrack The Road with that thing.

The next day after a show like that I want it to rain all day and be situated so I can sit home and play guitar and listen to Felt records. Buckner namechecks the cult band in "Ocean Cliff Clearing", which he played that evening. The only song I didn't hear that I wanted was "Believer." 

Another dude was listing off to him after the show the songs he's never heard him sing, and Buckner, sitting with him at the edge of the stage said, "Oh yeah, I haven't played that in years. I oughta put a request wheel on my website or something. " I saw him once ten years ago, and tried to talk to him after and clammed up awestruck, and truthfully, he was in a bit of a state after that show, but last night,  after the locusts and heartbreak were sung out, he was jovial, even a little goofy when I talked to him. He talked about playing a little ancient opera house in a small town in Maryland or someplace where it was a bunch of farmer's and autistic kids at his show, and we talked about how disarming driving through that I-10 tunnel  outside of Mobile is. He said about Davie's Uptown, the club I saw him at many moons ago in Kansas City, "The best thing about playing there is that Gate's BBQ is right around the corner."  At Gate's you have to know your order the instant you walk in the door because the staff starts yelling at you for it and gets testy if you hesitate. I mentioned this and he said, "Oh yeah, man. Burnt end sandwich!"

I'm doing this post backwards because who wants to open for Richard Buckner? Drew Landry from Lafayette did a great job, laying out howling protests about the oil spill and a really good dirty song about a Baton Rouge roller rink during his set. Drew is the guy that played his guitar before the Presidential Commission on the BP Oil Spill a while back and has a tune "BP Blues" released on Warner Bros., available on iTunes with the bulk of proceeds go to Drew also blogs the oil spill cleanup efforts and lack thereof at and runs the spectacular Bourque's Social Club in Scott, LA, which I hit up anytime I can. Drew fights the good fight and is generally an awesome dude; he didn't take a swing at me when I called him "John Cougar Fishin' Camp."

Felt, The Pictorial Jackson Review, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, and The Splendour of Fear

Felt, "The Optimist and the Poet"

Richard Buckner, "Ocean Cliff Clearing" from 2009 in Salt Lake City

Media Announcements: My review of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story is up on the Oxford American site and the strings of your heart will go twaaaannnnnggg in this week's Record Crate with Bill Kircher, The Legendary Shack Shakers, Hank William's lookalikes and Whiskeytown's Caitlin Cary all appearing in town this week.

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