Patrick Watson Does Not Make a Mistake

September 10th, 2012

Patrick Watson – The Bowery Ballroom – September 7, 2012

Certain artists have that intangible something that makes them unlike the thousands of other singers on iTunes. The Canadian-raised Patrick Watson is one of these gifted gems in an abyss of music. He probably doesn’t have the fame he deserves but judging by his joy of performing on Friday evening at The Bowery Ballroom, that doesn’t seem to matter. Starting the show in darkness, Watson and band stepped onstage wearing LED light rings as they played “Lighthouse” from the spring release, Adventures in Your Own Backyard.

Sticking with tracks from the latest album, two white-shoehorn fixtures bookending the stage served as innovative screens projecting vintage footage of majorettes and birds. Watson confessed he had always wanted to play The Bowery Ballroom and was thoroughly enjoying the moment, often chuckling between songs. Watson, percussionist Robbie Kuster, guitarist Simon Angell, bassist Mishka Stein and violinist Melanie Belair gathered around one microphone for “Words in the Fire” and “Into Giants,” as the footlights illuminated their faces like the glow of a warm fire. Fittingly, Watson crooned: “On this warm summer night / Put your words down in the fire.” Nimble fingers glided across the keys of the piano for the instrumental track “The Things You Do.”

Rewarding his older fans, Watson dipped into previous albums, Close to Paradise and Wooden Arms, breaking out “Luscious Life” and “Big Bird in a Small Cage.” With a tap on Angell’s shoulder, the title track “Adventures in Your Own Backyard” included a guitar-heavy interlude, which was lapped up by the nearly sold-out crowd. There was no doubt there would be an encore as barely anyone in the audience moved for the exits. Returning to the stage with an explosive rendition of “Beijing,” Kuster broke light bulbs strewn along his drum kit, startling Angell and a few ladies in the front row. Watson mollified the situation asking post-song if anyone was harmed in Kuster’s antics. As if he weren’t sorry enough, Watson and Angell entered the crowd with the piano bench to elevate them for an acoustic version of “Man Under the Sea.” Returning to the stage for his final song, Watson gave the audience a choice of songs, which he precluded with a story about his show in Washington, D.C., earlier in the week ended with “Oops!… I Did It Again.” On this night he would not make that mistake, instead closing with the fan favorite “The Great Escape.” —Sharlene Chiu