I had been looking forward to seeing Joseph Arthur since the show at High Noon was announced a couple months ago. The only recording of his that I had was Nuclear Daydream, but I had found that I really enjoyed it at anytime of day or night or mood. His cryptic, cosmic, Zen flavored lyrics are right up my alley – and the melody and arrangements of his songs are really pleasing to me.
The surprise for me was the calibre and composition of the Lonely Astronauts. I was there to see JA and had no idea of the talent in the band. But it did not take long to realize that each and every member was a really gifted musician. They could all sing well and the harmonies were spot on. . . The next day I got on the web to learn more about them and realized that the lead guitar was Jen Turner (Furslide, and lead guitar on Natalie Merchant’s Tiger Lilly record and tour). Rhythm guitar was only Kraig Jarrett Johnson (Jayhawks and Golden Smog). And the bass player was Sybil Buck – a really fascinating character, who I thought was one of the grooviest bass players I’ve ever watched. (It didn’t hurt that she is quite attractive either.)
The three guitar + bass lineup is always a powerful one, and this was three really strong performers that melded nicely together. It was interesting to watch JA work his effects – all those years touring alone and using loops etc to build his songs have given him an easy attitude that masked the virtuosity of his technique.
They played a lot of familiar material from Nuclear Daydream and great songs from their new release Let’s Just Be. After the show, I bought the limited edition version that has hand-pressed lithography cover art. And I like this recording a lot too.
Here’s the setlist (4/26/2007):
Baby’s got a new friend
Too much to hide
Enough to get away
Lack a vision
Take me home
I donated myself to the mexican army
Even tho *
Honey and the moon *
In the sun
Let’s just be
I will carry
* Joseph solo
One last thing – do not tell your wife that you think a certain bass player is one of the hottest musician you’ve ever seen. . . This is not a good idea.