The Wiltern is a mixed bag. One one hand it is one of my favorite venues… old school, art deco, historic… And I absolutely adore K Town.
On the other hand, it is run down, with some of the velvet covered seats being broken or taped together and there always seem to be issues…
But… if I can pull out one more hand… they do accommodate and try to make things right… so thanks to Danielle for doing that last night.
Yeah, I know we were in K town… but we were in a rush and ate at the Japanese Curry House on Western. It was reasonable and good… No issues… Well, I won’t bore you with the details of the morning after… but they need to use less salt for one…
Doors open at 7… so the GA crowd can rush in and claim their spots… and oh yeah… buy booze… for an hour. Venues are not very forthcoming with the real start/set times because they want to sell booze, food and snacks…
One more issue… if we buy tickets AT THE VENUE… why are we paying a window service charge??? Really? That is just silly… and annoying… and pisses us off. But we did… for aisle seats… Doh!
We made our way up to the balcony (i.e. Mezzanine)… seats were right in the middle… WTF?
But Damien Jurado was on stage… Self deprecating humor… pleasant… and a stunning singer and guitar player… Simple… full… rich… One man and a guitar… and a looping pedal can make some great music… and he did!
He is a brooding, poetic and melancholy singer/songwriter, with touches of Nick Drake and Elliot Smith, but as he addresses the audience there is a genuine warmth and passion that comes across… One would not necessarily know that he started off in punk bands, but that was exactly how this Seattle native got his start. Highlight albums include: Rehearsals For Departure, Ghost Of David and I Break Chairs.
His story about his son incredulously asking him how people can pay to hear him sing such sad songs was priceless… as was the follow-up where he told us that his “selling out” by letting one of his songs be used in the TV show House allowed him to buy his son huge amounts of Legos!
During what was about a 30-45 minute break… Oh yeah… to buy more booze and snacks and such… we were actually moved to the floor. This was awesome and greatly appreciated.
Jason Isbell came out ready to rock, opening with the new and powerful song “Palmetto Rose.” Usually artists test the waters before building up to a frenzy, but most artists are not Jason Isbell. He came out with all cylinders/guns/whatever phrase works firing.
This is the prefect combo of Alt. Country, Americana and pure Southern Rock, with influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and a slew of the Outlaw Country greats.
His band, The 400 Unit, is immensely talented and so tight and you can see the pure joy he has playing with them… making sure to give each one their due notice and spotlight and attention, by gracefully moving to each of their areas of the stage.
The set had something for everyone and showed his range as a thoughtful singer/songwriter to all out, ball busting Southern rocker! I think I heard everything I wanted, including the new “24 Frames”, “Alabama Pines”, “The Life You Chose” and two of my all-time Drive-By Truckers faves: “Decoration Day” and “Danko/Manuel.”
He plays with a fire and passion, that surprisingly seems rare these days… and when he lets loose on the guitar, especially with the slide in hand… watch out! I was blown away on so many levels. I have all of his records, except Sirens Of The Ditch (Will remedy that soon), and a whole slew of DBT, the killer Southern Rock band he was with for six years… but I had not seen him live until last night.
When I say run… I mean SPRINT… double time it… Seriously!
What a night!
And to top if off they taped an appearance on Conan earlier in the day… so enjoy that!
SETLIST – August 12. 2015 (The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA)
- Palmetto Rose
- Decoration Day (Drive-By Truckers song)
- Something More Than Free
- Dress Blues
- 24 Frames
- Codeine (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit cover)
- Different Days
- Alabama Pines (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit cover)
- The Life You Chose
- Speed Trap Town
- If It Takes a Lifetime
- Cover Me Up
- Children of Children
- Flying Over Water
- Danko / Manuel (Drive-By Truckers song)
- Never Gonna Change (Drive-By Truckers song)
- Outfit (Drive-By Truckers song)
- Super 8