A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Mar 10, 2009

M. Ward March 8th at the Aladdin

photo credit: vassego in Washinton, DC 2/21/09

I went to see M.Ward March 8th at the Aladdin theater here in beautiful Portland with my friends Chris and Audry.  The opening band was Port O'Brien, who I really enjoyed.  Port O'Brien plays a whole lot of guitar.  In particular the lead guitar player was playing a reverbed Rickenbacker that sounded incredible.  The singer has a kind of Neil Young / Kurt Cobain screamy nasally thing going on that I quite enjoyed.  They had a female banjo player, but I couldn't really hear the banjo too much.  In all they were quite enjoyable and I plan on picking up their newest record.

M.Ward was incredible.  He played quite a bit off his new album but also mixed in quite a few songs from Post War for those of us who hadn't quite caught up with him yet on Hold Time.  One of the best things about M.Ward was the total groove he laid down, whether it be by himself or with the band.  I was really impressed how he could sing with the acoustic guitarists laying down the chords but still come off so tightly in his phrasing and musicality.  Quite impressive.

Of course, he has an incredible voice that's just one of those things he's blessed with, and he used it to great effect.  His songs are sensitive and thoughtful, and I loved the way he put arrangements together.  He's also a far better guitar player than I had anticipated.  He did a great instrumental guitar song that showed off his Bakersfield style Buck Owens skills quite nicely.  It was very impressive.

He must be a pretty shy person because the lighting was very dark.  For the most part he was in a blue shadow and not very visible.  He had a really cool lighting effect of a window pane on the back curtain.  As the concert went on the window went from showing a day scene to a beautiful night with lightning bugs flying around back to morning orange sunrise for the encore.  It was really cool.

I loved the concert - definitely one of the best I've seen in a while.  Can't wait to get the new record.