Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

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Elvis Perkins Celebrates an Album Milestone at Rough Trade NYC

October 23rd, 2017

Elvis Perkins – Rough Trade NYC – October 20, 2017


Family reunions can be planned or impromptu, times of joy and nostalgia or pain and remembrance, barbecues or funerals. Elvis Perkins’ music has always been a mix of melancholy and jubilance, and so it was perfect for a “reunion” on Friday night in Brooklyn at Rough Trade NYC. The appearance was one of two anniversary shows (the other in L.A.) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Perkins’ breakout album, Ash Wednesday. For the show he assembled most of the original musicians and more, musical cousins and brothers and sisters joining together once again to make music and share memories and maybe make some new ones as well.

Like the album—and, really, like most gatherings of old friends—the show began with its most powerful, emotional moment. “While You Were Sleeping” started, as it always has, with Perkins solo, singing, “Time flew, the phone rang/ There was a silence when the kitchen sang/ Its songs competed like kids for space/ We stared for hours in our maker’s face.” One by one the musicians came onstage and began playing, bass and drums and backup singers and then horns and a four-piece strings section, the family together again and a wave of emotion swelling inside the room. To me, the album was always one of the more poignant responses to 9/11, but its happiness-from-sadness energy resonated just as strongly on Friday. The full complement of strings seemed to generate much of the emotion, at times eerie or chilling or sobbing.

With the massive band and the range of feelings coming from the stage, the centerpiece was still Perkins’ songs—lyrics as poetic and meaningful as ever—like “It’s Only Me”: “The white noise falls away to reveal the perfect day/ Where roses bloomed out of thin air and music rose from down the buried stairs.” After closing with a penetrating version of “Good Friday,” Perkins introducing the full band, goodbyes imminent, they added an encore of “Doomsday” from the Elvis Perkins in Dearland album, an unplanned moment, perhaps not everyone knowing the song but happy to linger and enjoy one another’s company for just a bit longer. Like most reunions, the event felt all the more significant by the uncertainty of when we all might meet again. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

 

 

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Elvis Perkins Leaves Rough Trade NYC Crowd Spellbound

April 21st, 2015

Elvis Perkins – Rough Trade NYC – April 20, 2015

Elvis-Perkins_BYT-350x300

It’s been a few years since Elvis Perkins headlined a show in New York City. He’s been off the radar for a while, gone so long, one might worry that people would forget about him. But in his case, absence only made the heart grow fonder as Perkins returned to the stage Monday night, performing for a sold-out Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn. He plays a unique, unpredictable style of folk anchored by superlative songwriting and a voice that’s difficult to forget. Besides, this is a guy who once led a Bowery Ballroom audience underground and across Delancey St. to jam out among the subway power washers. You don’t forget something like that.

Outside, a dense fog had penetrated the entire region, which brought an appropriately mysterious vibe to the music inside. And it was like Perkins—opening with “I Came for Fire,” off his new album, I Aubade—was summoning spirits, howling into the humid evening. He was joined in his séance by a range of instrumentation: Autoharp, pump organ, bass, analog synth, and later, drums and horns (by openers and former Perkins band members Kinsey and Wyndham) adding to his own guitar and harmonica. For the most part, these largely served to frame Perkins’ voice and lyrics, each syllable its own percolating entity seemingly independent of meter or verse. The audience was incredibly attentive, spellbound by the meandering new material, like “Gasolina” and “My 2$.”

Later on, Perkins worked some older material into the set, “Shampoo,” feeling wonderful and weird accompanied by trumpet, harmonica and pump organ, and “Doomsday,” adding to the just-a-little-dark mood. The set closed with “AM,” the band at full sextet and Perkins at his lyrically strongest. He left the stage leaving horns and harp and synth to twist a nifty outro jam before dissipating into nothing. Prior to sending the crowd outside into the fog, Perkins came back out for an encore highlighted by the show-closing “While You Were Sleeping,” the standout track from his Ash Wednesday album, each word condensing in the air until there was almost a moist cloud of lyrics floating through the room. Personally, it gave me some goose bumps I won’t soon forget. —A. Stein | @Neddyo