Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Canon Blue support Poliça (I saw them back in February and wrote about it). Canon Blue closed their set with this song. Although I loved their whole set, this one stood out to me with the horn and string loops. Give it a listen! 

Son Lux at Millenium Park and Saki Records, 8.6.11

Sorry for taking so long to post about the Son Lux show…I’ve been busy getting ready to go back to school. I am now settled in, so you should hear a bit more from me hopefully. We’ll have to see how my class schedule pans out too…I’m hoping it’s not too crazy.  

The Son Lux show began at noon, and as I walked up and looked at the massive stage at Millenium Park, it was a funny sight to see there were just three people on the stage…they didn’t take up much space, but they certainly made up for it in sound. During the show Ryan Lott (Son Lux) played piano, keys, and worked his mac, and was accompanied by Johnny Rodgers on guitar, and Ryan Fitch on the drums. 

He started the show with Rebuild, one of my favorite songs from We Are Rising. Since the live instrumentation was sparse and a lot of the sound was created by Ryan’s keyboard or computer (there’s probably more to it than that, but I have no clue how electronic musicians produce the sounds that they do), his whole set was very, very different from the sound on the album. With Rebuild, I would have loved if there were live trumpets up on stage, but the samples sufficed and it’s understandable that he isn’t traveling with a full band since he is a solo artist.

Most of the songs he played were from his new album, but he did play a few songs from the first album and a new song called “Come Away” that had a lot of background vocals and was played primarily on the piano. 

Ryan has a classical background and it’s easy to see that as he performs. His electronic music is what got me hooked, but if he ever releases an orchestral album, or an album full of piano pieces, I’m pretty confident it will be phenomenal. 

Later that day, my sister and I made our way to Saki Records to see his in-store performance. There were about fifteen or twenty people there so it was really interesting to see a similar show in a very different setting. Actually, I take that back, it was not really similar to the other show at all. Ryan explained to us how in his live shows, he doesn’t aim to replicate the sounds on the record, but tries to improvise and create something a little different. This time around it was just he and Johnny, and as Ryan jumped around on the out of tune piano and experimented and played with his songs, he asked Johnny to follow as best as he could. I loved how organic it was- it was almost like I was watching a really, really, really good jam session between two friends. 

In the last song or two Ryan kept things simple and played piano…it was raw, graceful, and just plain beautiful. It’s so evident Ryan is passionate and in love with what he does, I’m very glad I was able to see it twice in one day. 

Setlist from Millenium Park:

Rebuild 

Wither

All The Right Things

Flickers

Betray

Come Away

Claws

Flowers

Leave The Riches

Weapons

Rising

During the Saki Records show, Epitonic, a Chicago based music site videotaped it as a part of their sessions collaboration with Saki. I am not sure when it will be posted, but keep an eye out, I will definitely be posting it here once it is released. It’ll be a gem. Also, if you are into vinyl, or even if you’re not, and you want to buy We Are Rising, you should consider buying the record instead of just downloading it or buying the CD. The artwork by The Made Shop is beautiful and the actual record is a light blue color that is just pretty awesome. Plus it comes with an mp3 download, so you really cannot go wrong. 

Follow Son Lux on tumblr here.

Follow Johnny Rodgers on Tumblr here.

My Brightest Diamond at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion 8.8.11

 

I’m going a little backwards on this one…I did my write-up of the My Brightest Diamond show first instead of the Son Lux shows, but I’ll post that pretty soon. 

I am so very glad I made it to this show. It was beautiful. This show marked the 4th concert I have attended by myself. Three out of the four have been for an Asthmatic Kitty musician or someone related-I cannot miss a show just because no one will go with me, I would regret it for too long. I took the L downtown to a stop close to Millennium Park and walked in the rain to the park after a quick bite to eat. It hasn’t rained much this summer in St. Louis, so it was actually kind of nice. When I arrived at the pavilion there weren’t a ton of people, but I figured I should get a seat just in case it started to get crowded. I got a good spot out of the rain in the middle of the third row and had a good view of everything. Turns out most of the people there at that point were parents of the kids in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO), but there were a few MBD fans mixed in too.

I didn’t manage to keep track of the entire set, but she played a lot of new music, including “Reaching Through To The Other Side” and it was absolutely incredible. I am so very excited to hear the new album in it’s entirety. She sang “We Added It Up” and it was perfect. I love how sassy she makes it sound and the orchestration is brilliant. During that song she motioned us to echo the lyrics “love binds the world” and that was so fun. I’m pretty sure that all the parents who were there to watch their kids ended up falling in love with Shara too.

I loved all of the new songs, but “Be Brave” stood out to me the most. The orchestration was intense and loud, the drums were consistently thumping as Shara chanted “Sh-sh-shara this is going to hurt, be brave, dear one, be changed, be undone”. I seriously love this song. I didn’t take a video of the whole song with my camera, but I was able to record about a minute of footage on my phone and I’ve probably listened to that clip about fifteen times. Some wonderful person recorded it though and stuck it on youtube… make sure you have some extra time because you might want to listen to it ten times. 

I thought this song was interesting too because it reminded me of “Vesuvius” by Sufjan Stevens because they both refer to themselves in third person and they’re sort of encouraging or commanding themselves to do something or be a certain way. I don’t think many musicians do that much, but maybe I’ve just never noticed.

I think this new album is going to be extraordinary. Her new material seems like it’s going to have edgier orchestration (can’t say for sure, it might just appear that way to me since I saw her with an orchestra) and more vivid, extravagant, and catchier than her last few albums. I don’t mean that her last albums were boring or something, but more so that it seems like she is just making it grander, not as much quiet, soft singing.

Not only was the music performed by Shara and CYSO delightful, but Shara is quite the storyteller and dancer. Before she played “From The Top Of The World”, she told us a story from the book At the Back of the North Wind that inspired the song, complete with the wispy sounds of the “North Wind” from the orchestra…it was pretty cool. I felt like I was a little kid hearing a wonderful bedtime story. Her dancing was just plain awesome. I love when you can tell musicians are having a good time on stage.

She only sang two or three songs without the orchestra, with just her guitar, ukulele, or her other various instruments, but one of the sweetest was “I Have Never Loved Someone”; a song she wrote for her son who is around a year old. It was pretty cute-he was sitting in the front row pretty close to me and right as she began to sing the song, he let out a little cry. The song was so sweet and lovely, I’m looking forward to hearing it on the new album.

A few other songs she sprinkled in between the songs I have mentioned thus far were “Feeling Good” (from Dark Was The Night), “Escape Routes”, and “Apples” for the encore. All were excellent. During “Apples”, she encouraged everyone to dance, and some people took her up on it and started a little part in the aisle. It was hilarious and wonderful, I kind of wish I had joined because it looked like so much fun. Shara’s joy emanates from the stage and made it such a fun and beautiful concert.

I mentioned the other day that after the Son Lux show on Saturday I talked to Shara Worden a bit, she was very nice. We didn’t talk about much other than that I was coming to her show in a few days and about her show in St. Louis that is on September 11. I told her I was super bummed that her concert and the Bon Iver concert were the same night…which, seriously is so sad because I would love to see her again. After her show on Monday I got to talk to her again and I told her I loved the new material and that it was an amazing performance. We talked about a few other things, then parted ways. She is so sweet and I’m really glad I was able to talk to her on two occasions.