06:55 AM, Feb 20, 2010
Full Review with pictures over at :
Van Dyke Parks is recognized around the world as a musical genius… he’s a brilliant session musician, composer, arranger, lyricist, and singer. He has contributed to many masterpieces (check out his rap sheet). He is most well known for his collaboration with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. While Brian is a prodigiously gifted composer, he was no lyricist, and needed one who could match the daring new music he was devising in his head. The result is their collaboration on the much vaunted SMiLE album.
I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the Beach Boys. I just don’t care for their music. Well, I connected with Van Dyke Parks via a newer band… Silverchair (VDP did string arrangements for Diorama and Young Modern). Yeah, yeah… if you only knew them from 1995’s “Tomorrow” (from when they were 15 years old)… well, they’ve grown.
Van Dyke Parks rarely ever records or tours, putting at most one or two records per decade. When I heard about the shows via the Clare & the Reasons‘ email, I jumped at the chance of seeing both of these artists on the stage together. I had seen Clare & the Reasons open up for My Brightest Diamond back in Nov 2008, and I loved their French bohemian meets modern indie rock vibe.
There were only four shows slated for this rare double bill tour…
02.09.10 – Seattle, WA Triple Door
02.10.10 – Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
02.12.10 – San Francisco, CA Swedish American Hall
02.14.10 – Santa Monica, CA McCabe’s
This was only my second time up to the Mississippi Studios. I really like the intimate setting, even the crazy hovering piano. The last time I was there was for David Bazan in November. For the VDP & Clare show, I’m glad they had chairs down… whew. :)
Opener Josh Mease went on around 9pm and played 6 songs. He had a very gentle singer-songwriter style. His guitarwork was good, but his voice was simply superb (nice lyrics, too). Josh is on Frogstand Records, the same record label as Clare & The Reasons. I dug his own tunes more than the Randy Newman cover. For his last song, Clare & The Reasons came up to play with him…
Josh Mease’s Setlist: about 20 mins
* missing song name
* missing song name
* Marie (Randy Newman cover)
* Days Like This
* Start Over (with Clare & The Reasons)
Clare & The Reasons stayed up after Josh’s last song and moved some instruments around (and subsequently lost a percussion brush). Off to a great start! :) They joked lightly about it and then… viola, they found it! Their set was a sandwich of Arrow songs, The Movie songs, and more Arrow songs.
Arrow came out late last year, but I didn’t get a chance to pick it up until yesterday. I also picked up Olivier Manchon’s brand new instrumental CD, Orchestre de Chambre Miniature Volume 1, with saxophonist John Ellis, Gregoire Maret (from a Herbie Hancock band), and more string and woodwind players. Check their albums out (click pictures below)…
What I love about the band is not just limited to Clare Manchon’s vocals, but also the wonderful multi-instrumentation from Olivier and the well rounded guitarist and upright bassist. The set was full of great percussion, strings, garbage ukelele, french horn, pizzicato strings, a borrowed saw, acoustic & electric guitars, and sublime vocals. Van Dyke Parks & Josh Mease joined them on stage for their next to last song… (apparently Bill Frisell also joined them on stage up at the Seattle show).
Clare & the Reason’s Setlist: about an hour
* You Got Time
* All the Wine
* Perdue A Paris
* Ooh You Hurt Me So
* Wake Up (You Sleepy Head)
* You Getting Me
* This Is The Story
* Alphabet City
* Our Team Is Grand
* Love Can Be A Crime (with VDP & Josh)
* That’s All (Genesis cover)
Van Dyke Parks came on after a short break. He was seated at the piano and brought The Reasons (sans Clare) as his backing band. They started out with a great instrumental piece. The rest of the songs we heard were poppier tunes with some great instrumentation (as expected). VDP is an amazing pianist and composer. His voice wasn’t superb or sublime, but it fit the songs. I wasn’t familiar with his songs, but of the ones he announced while we were there… Opportunity for Two, Orange Crate Art, and Sail Away.
VDP was also a great banterer in between songs. Usually short, but funny… one of my faves was “my wife thinks that ‘cook’ is a noun.“
We only stayed for half of his scheduled hour-long set (as we had a 2 hour drive back home), but it was a great set of tunes. If anyone has the complete VDP setlist, let me know.
The Oriental Theater, Denver, Colo.
Rod Tanaka / www.tanakaphoto.com
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