avait.jpg
Dave Lake
Andrew Vait, the Local Strangers, The Elderly

Columbia City Theater

Friday, June 10

Andrew Vait is a talented singer/songwriter, but enjoying his recorded

"/>

Andrew Vait Brings the Talking Police to the Columbia City Theater for His CD Release

avait.jpg
Dave Lake
Andrew Vait, the Local Strangers, The Elderly

Columbia City Theater

Friday, June 10

Andrew Vait is a talented singer/songwriter, but enjoying his recorded work is a completely different experience than seeing his live show. He didn't just pull out all the stops during the release party for his Closer to the Setting Sun album Friday night at the Columbia City Theater, he pulled out all his ego as well. Though he was impressive musically, he poked holes in his performance in other ways, taking himself too seriously and delivering a set that was equal parts dazzling and douchey.

The Alaska-born Vait has built an audience in the Pacific Northwest over the past few years as the singer for Eternal Fair, a retro-rock act that blends Pink Floyd with My Morning Jacket. But when he began stockpiling material that didn't work for Eternal Fair, Vait decided to release a solo record, his second. And it's a strong album, with 10 folk-rock songs that are evocative, soulful, and melodic, bringing to mind singer/songwriters like Cat Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, and Warren Zevon, whom he references in the lyrics of "Young Girls," one of the album's best songs.

Vait's live show, however, is a whole different beast. For starters, he repeatedly told the crowd to be quiet, asking talkers to move to the rear of the theater, which may have been tolerable once, but by the third shushing it felt like a kindergarten teacher scolding his class, not a performer trying to connect with a room full of adults at a rock show. The shushing eventually gave way to annoyed audience members repeatedly--and loudly--shushing those around them between songs, even those who weren't talking.

For every nice touch Vait included in the show, like having a brass band flash-mob the stage during the bridge to "Paul & Sally's Mournful Song," he counteracted those moments by doing something off-putting, like having an interpretive painting created during his set or by comparing his lyrics to the text of the Bible, which is how he arrived at the title for "Psalm 151," because the truth of the song, he said, was akin to that of the Bible's psalms.

By show's end, Vait was joined by virtually everyone who had made an appearance throughout his hour-long set--and even some who hadn't. Vait proved he can put on a terrific show, but unfortunately his ego seems to rival his talents.

Also celebrating the release of a new record on Friday night were the Local Strangers, led by Aubrey Zoli and Matt Hart, who dressed in vintage duds but who played a modern brand of folk that veered from the Frames to Patti Griffin, whose song they concluded their set with. Their male/female harmonies were lovely, as was their enthusiasm and the genuine appreciation they showed for the supportive crowd. "Oh my gosh," Zoli said, just before throwing her arm around Hart to walk offstage. "I think he's going to cry."

The scene: A packed Columbia City Theater filled with lots of jovial family and friends.

Overheard from the stage: "My latest obsession," said Whitney Lyman of The Elderly, who opened the show. "Is dresses with pockets. Because I can store my banjo picks . . . and look good!"

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 
comments powered by Disqus