Tag Archives: David Bazan


David Bazan Goes Deep at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

November 10th, 2017

David Bazan – Rough Trade NYC – November 9, 2017

The opening verse of “Magazine” pretty much sums up the inner conflict that singer-songwriter David Bazan—of the beloved indie-rock outfit Pedro the Lion—has been struggling through his entire career. Once an evangelical Christian, he’s challenged his faith with each release in a way that never pulls any punches. After four full-lengths and five EPs, Bazan decided to retire the band name in order to go solo and explore his relationship with faith without the religious baggage his old band carried. Any longtime fan of his songwriting would be able to tell you that his relationship to the church was never an issue. As a lyricist, Bazan has always been able to pull apart the complex equations that everyday people spend their entire lives trying to solve. In the years since Pedro’s demise, he’s remained prolific, releasing albums and singles under his own name as well as launching many different side projects (his group Lo Tom, played Rough Trade NYC over the summer). Last month, Bazan announced that he would be reviving Pedro for a string of reunion shows this winter as well as plans to record and tour again as a working unit.

But before he can get to work on that, Bazan is finishing up promoting his most recent solo album, Care, which brought his tour to Brooklyn to play Rough Trade NYC last night along with singer-songwriter Michael Nau of Page France. Nau set the tone with a short set of laid-back songs accompanied by a lead guitarist, upright bassist and a drum machine that he’d program in between numbers. His material took on a trance-inducing quality that recalled Lambchop at their most ethereal with lyrics that seemed heartbreakinghly personal. Shortly after, Bazan took the stage backed by a three-piece. And for the most part, he and his band kept it “strictly business” as they plowed through material from Care and his 2016 LP, Blanco, with little talking in between songs, aside from a brief intermission when he took questions from the crowd. Both albums had been a slight sonic departure for Bazan, as they each strictly used synths and drum machines—so it was great to hear these songs getting the heavier band treatment live. He delighted the crowd with a few old Pedro songs, like “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run” and “Penetration,” and even dusted off the old Headphones tune “Gas and Matches.”

For the encore, Bazan took questions for the second time of the night. As expected, most of them had to do with the Pedro reunion, and he was frank and honest with his answers, explaining that the decision was made in order to tour and record music “as a band” again and to bring his music to a much larger audience. For a sometimes frustratingly overlooked force in the world of indie rock, it’s hard to blame him. He also assured the crowd that the Pedro tour would make its way to New York City in the future but would have to keep us in suspense as to when. He and his band then closed with the opening song off of Pedro’s final album, Achilles Heel, “Bands With Managers,” which had everyone singing along in unison. —Pat King | @MrPatKing


David Bazan Brings New Album to Music Hall of Williamsburg

July 6th, 2016

David Bazan first rose to acclaim fronting Seattle’s Christian-themed Pedro the Lion. But as he began to stray from a religious influence, Bazan (above, doing “Wolves at the Door”) did a one-off with the band Headphones and then started working on his own. In 2006, Paste magazine labeled him the No. 85 living songwriter and proclaimed, “If crushing truths perish by being acknowledged, David Bazan is the grim-news reaper…. He chronicles the subtle forms manipulation assumes, and the moving target of his satire is the brainwash we often administer unto ourselves.” His first solo full-length, Curse Your Branches (stream it below), came out to raves in 2009. “Albums about breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend after a long relationship are pretty common; albums about splitting with God after a lifetime together are rare,” wrote the A.V. Club. “It’s heavy stuff, to be sure, but Bazan is such an astute chronicler of his own emotions—no matter how ugly—that even his darkest moments ironically offer serious inspiration. Like the subject matter itself, he’s a rarity.” Since then, the singer-songwriter has worked with others and released a host of singles, and a couple of months ago, he put out his third LP, Blanco (stream it below), which is heavy on samples and keyboards. Exclaim! called it “a poignant reflection on the hardships of a touring musician spending most of the year away from his wife and kids…. It requires, and deserves, an attentive and patient ear.” Give the new music a listen live when David Bazan plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Another notable singer-songwriter, Laura Gibson, opens the show.


Overseas, a Supergroup of Friends, Delights Mercury Lounge

August 20th, 2013

Overseas – Mercury Lounge – August 19, 2013

Seems like these days the line between supergroup and bunch of friends having fun playing music can be a very thin and fuzzy one. Overseas—Will Johnson, David Bazan, and Bubba and Matt Kadane—feel much more like the latter, which isn’t to say there’s nothing super about the music they’re making. After a strong warm-up set from Strand of Oaks, Overseas eased onto the stage, the getting-things-ready portion transitioning into the set proper with little pomp or circumstance. They opened with “Here (Wish You Were)” from their self-titled album, Johnson starting on drums, Bazan on lead vocals and a warm-buzzed bass, the brothers Kadane on guitars. The song featured the band’s strengths when Johnson picked up the backing harmony for Bazan, their two distinctive voices adding unexpected strength to each other.

While the album sounds like an album, live, the material felt much more raw and in progress. It’s fun to watch a band get their legs under them, and they even jokingly thanked the audience for coming to their rehearsal. Songs were of the short-and-sweet variety, with little extracurricular activity. After a few tunes, Overseas loosened up and began rotating instruments so that everyone seemingly had a chance on bass and/or drums and/or guitar. The simplicity of the drumming by nondrummers was part of the appeal, sticking the focus on the songwriting and Bazan’s and Johnson’s voices. Those two seemed to be in constant collaboration with everyone, making others sound better or helping them do their best.

Statistically speaking, it was inevitable that Overseas would eventually exist. Johnson took lead vocals for the middle batch of songs, like “Lights Are Gonna Fall,” which sounded good enough to make you realize that the reality is these guys have more great material than they have bands to play them with. Somewhat surprisingly, they announced they already had plans for a follow-up album, playing at least two new tunes that may have been the best of the bunch—one with the line “bloody your nose” that had a manic energy, Bazan on vocals and a great dueling riff from the Kadanes. After more than an hour, Overseas finished as unceremoniously as they’d begun. Seems like they had exhausted their material, but probably not for long. —A. Stein





David Bazan – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 15, 2012

November 16th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Matt Karp