Tag Archives: Vetiver

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Two Sides of Vetiver on Display at The Bowery Ballroom

May 14th, 2015

Vetiver – The Bowery Ballroom – May 13, 2015

Vetiver – The Bowery Ballroom – May 13, 2015
It felt like two shows for the price of one at The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night as Vetiver acted as a Janus-faced band splitting their set neatly down the middle. The first half of the show was predominantly self-described “mellow” songs like the apt-titled opener, “I Must Be in a Good Place Now,” from the 2008 album Thing of the Past. Frontman Andy Cabic was like a guide, using his songs to show off his wonderful band. Eric Johnson, who opened the show solo with an excellent set of his own, was featured from the opening notes, singing strong harmonies with Cabic and mixing in keyboards as well.

The rest of the group took the spotlight throughout the first phase of the show, “From Now On,” the hot-off-the-presses Complete Strangers album’s second track, featured overlapping rhythm guitars and free-flowing melodic bass. “Last Hurrah” was a highlight of this first section, ethereal guitar and oozing bass accompanying Cabic as he sang, “Silence relieves me/ Speaks when I can’t.” The comfortable crowd squeezed in close to the stage, giving the club an intimate feel. Almost exactly halfway through, Cabic exchanged his acoustic guitar for an electric one, took off his flannel and transformed the set to a more T-shirt-and-jeans up-tempo groover.

For phase two, each song took a different approach, from ’60s psych to happy grooving to heavy blues-out to sunny-day funk to country-flecked rocker. Everyone in the band got to put on a second face, particularly the drummer, who expertly pushed and pulled the band through the genre hopping. The high point of the night was probably “Current Carry,” a song that would have been a perfect fit for the FM radio of yore. Live, it was a slide-guitar disco—a release from and culmination of all that preceded. The set ended with Cabic back on acoustic guitar, once again dipping back to Thing of the Past with “The Swimming Song,” Johnson on banjo while the imagery of the lyrics and the melody filled the space. A three-song encore found Vetiver turning the other cheek one last time, the band at their most rocking, finishing with “Ride Ride Ride,” the garage rock of the driving-with-the-top-down open road. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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Vetiver Bring New Music to The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

May 12th, 2015

Andy Cabic (vocals and guitar) formed the pastoral folk-rock group Vetiver (above, performing “Wonder Why” for KEXP FM) in San Francisco more than a decade ago, combining disparate influences from Syd Barrett to ’70s folk troubadours. Their self-titled debut full-length (stream it below) came out in 2004, impressing fans and critics alike. “This is an impressive, summery debut that is worth not only seeking out,” according to AllMusic, “but also playing until you can whistle along to it.” The band recently released their six studio album, the synths-inflected Complete Strangers (stream it below). Per Consequence of Sound, “Like all Vetiver albums, this one also navigates some thorny emotional terrain…. Complete Strangers is a subtle album that feels immediately familiar, yet reveals fresh and unexpected elements with each new listen.” Catch them live tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. And arrive early to see Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson, who opens the show.

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Two Bands at the Top of Their Game

September 14th, 2011

Fruit Bats/Vetiver – The Bowery Ballroom – September 13, 2011


Like a fine wine expertly matched to an equally delectable entrée, Fruit Bats and Vetiver were an inspired double bill at The Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night. Opening with “Wonder Why” off the new album, The Errant Charm, Andy Cabic and the rest of Vetiver invited the crowd in with a dreamy, light sound. Taking in the music as a whole, overlapping guitars, vocals and organs, everything in complete resonance, it’s clear that it isn’t easy to conceive of and make this music. But the group made it look effortless. The start of the set was punctuated by a ’60s psych sound with a Byrds guitar tone, a bass guitar that looked (and sounded) like it was stolen from Paul McCartney’s closet and three-part harmonies that Brian Wilson might have diagrammed.

As the set progressed, Cabic brought his band through a bit of genre splicing, mixing in bluesy stretches, surf, dance and country twang. Composed precision opened up into sweet little jams that always went just far enough. A disco ball hangs tantalizingly over the stage at The Bowery Ballroom and it’s not a question of “if” but “when” it should get used during any set. For Vetiver it was perfectly placed for the album’s dreamiest number, “It’s Beyond Me,” with the spinning lights matching the music’s mood. Fruit Bats’ Eric Johnson joined in on an excellent rendition of “I Must Be in a Good Place Now,” previewing the main course to come.

The disco ball came out early during the Fruit Bats set, lighting up the first of many songs off their superlative new album, Tripper. Like with Vetiver, Johnson and the band made it look easy as well, but more like an elite athlete: graceful, powerful and with no wasted motion. A twanging Telecaster easily mixed with Johnson’s soulful vocals, danceable bass, drums and keys on older tunes like the superbly realized “Feather Bed,” off The Ruminant Band, and new classics like “Tangie and Ray.” The disco ball returned, lit up but stationary at first, for “Flamingo,” which set up a nice psychedelic jam as the lights began spinning. This was clearly an act working its repertoire to craft a top-notch live set while perfectly balancing tight playing with a loose, organic atmosphere. Great live bands save the best for last, and, played with members of Vetiver, the encore—the supergroovy “You’re Too Weird,” from Tripper, and The Ruminant Band’s title track—left no doubt in the minds of those in the audience that they had just seen nothing less than greatness. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | www.jcmcilwaine.com

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The Clientele Ends Tour in Style at The Bowery Ballroom

March 24th, 2010

The Clientele – The Bowery Ballroom – March 23, 2010

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“For me, every day is Monday,” said the Clientele frontman Alasdair MacLean in pure British deadpan near the start of Tuesday night’s Bowery Ballroom show. You can see how that’s true, with a sleepy “don’t wanna get out of bed” whisper permeating the songs during a stunning 80-minute set. There can be a lot of music in a whisper, though, and the Clientele seemed to explore it all with sophistication and an understated groove that wasn’t lost on the crowd. The band played in contrasts and complements with James Hornsey’s bass melodically rising and falling with MacLean’s voice and Mark Keen’s cymbals accenting and sharpening his guitar work. Mel Draisy rounded out the quartet with impressive fill-in-the-blanks work on keyboards, violins and xylophone—each bit found its spot and interlocked in near pop perfection. The overall effect was powerfully hypnotic.

Things picked up momentum a couple of songs in with an ecstatic “Never Anyone but You.” Bob Parins, of Vetiver, joined the quartet for enhanced versions of “These Days Nothing but Sunshine” and “I Wonder Who We Are.” The steel guitar and Draisy’s violin meshed with MacLean’s unique finger-plucked chords to create some awe-inspiring music. With plenty of oohs, la las and bop bops accented by Keen’s steady, Ringo-esque drumming, the set was Brit-pop left out in the sun, turned soft, mushy and slightly narcotic.

Later, the Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson joined in on trumpet for a tune that started in the same, blissful sway but stretched out from the thee-minute shackles into a blistering jam. It seemed to go on forever and continually build in strength in a raging, somewhat surprising departure from the rest of the set. Olson stayed on for “Harvest Time,” which was equally powerful, but comfortably back to the subtle pop. For the encore, the Clientele dedicated two songs, the first, a Big Star cover to Alex Chilton, and the second, “Bookshop Casanova,” cheekily, to the crowd before ending with a ramped-down soporific to put an impressive end to a fantastic show and a long tour. —A. Stein