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Lush Music at The Bowery

February 18th, 2010

Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub – The Bowery Ballroom – February 17, 2010

Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub - The Bowery Ballroom - February 17, 2010
While Daniel Lanois and Black Dub played The Bowery Ballroom last night, they were filmed by a cameraman roving around the stage with the images projected onto a giant screen behind them. The black-and-white video gave the effect of watching a documentary film about the concert while it was actually going on—a shaky-cam, true-to-life rendering in real time. It had a nice enhancing effect on the music, a jagged, emotional set of Lanois’ unique dreamlike pop.

The first group of songs was dominated by Trixie Whitley’s vocals. If ever lyrics were belted out, these were. Whitley proved to be more than just a pretty face and a powerful voice as she moved throughout the night from a second drum kit to rhythm guitar and to keys, meshing quite well with Lanois. The real power behind the band came from the rhythm section, particularly Brian Blade on drums, who was the ever-churning, rumbling fuel to the fire. His energy, intensity and insanely proficient chops set the tone for each song. Occasionally the camera would get behind Blade and give a first-person view of what it’s like to make a drum kit bend to your will—a true moment of cinema verité.

Lanois led his band expertly, following the initial Whitley-lead section with an absolutely gorgeous pedal-steel instrumental duet with Blade. It wouldn’t be a Daniel Lanois show without some superlative, haunting pedal steel and he delivered here: The music filled The Bowery, sounding like it was coming from behind and above, like some heavenly music. For the rest of the time, Lanois played straight-up guitar, and the highlights came toward the end of the set with wonderfully drawn out, heavy versions of “The Maker” and “Ring the Alarm.” —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | photography.notch.org/music