After a bit of a sleepy start, Wednesday night's Song Show -- a City Arts event that mashes up intimate performances with songwriter interviews -- woke up and turned out some insightful and hysterical moments, curated primarily by City's executive editor, Mark Baumgarten. The Song Show's a great idea, and judging by the full room of patrons enjoying martinis and table service, it was a hit, too. The next installment comes to the Triple Door in April.
Damien Jurado played City Arts' The Song Show on Wednesday, January 6, along with Macklemore, Jesse Sykes, and Grand Hallway's Tomo Nakayama.
Here are a few notes on the performances/conversations:
Grand Hallways' Tomo Nakayama opened the show, and reacted to the notion that there's danger in rock and roll by saying: "I think it's more dangerous to have kids, or buy a house, or commit to one thing." Sure, it's always harder to make a mistake when you're not taking steps that cannot be undone.
Nakayama said he wasn't very computer savvy, didn't go out of his way to look for bootlegs and unfinished work online. "I don't really want to hear work that's not meant to be heard."Macklemore, dressed in a Cosby sweater and loafers told the audience, "You know you've made it one step above when you have to iron your shirt before soundcheck." He rhymed with such intensity--sometimes even a hint of frustration--that it was as if he were trying to come unbound from ropes tied around his chest.
On 18 months of sobriety, Macklemore said: "I can't write music when I'm doing drugs or alcohol. I just stare at a piece of paper for three minutes. Then I go do something else."
Damien Jurado played a batch of new songs, including "Beacon Hill," that's not about Beacon Hill, and teased the audience with a taste of "Ohio." "It's the song I'm most proud of, and also the song I hate the most."
"There are performers," Jurado said, making mention of Neil Diamond, an artist he admires, "and there are people who just perform. I'm one of those people who just perform."
Jesse Sykes closed the show singing with her eyebrows. Her intensely melodramatic voice that came through even during her exchange with Baumgarten. Her collection of new material included the gorgeous "Wooden Roses."