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A Hunchbacked Whale

Tortoise_01lAlthough its 2004 album "It's All Around You" and this year's Bonnie "Prince" Billy collab "The Brave and the Bold" both have some nice moments, Tortoise has seemed slightly off its game in the past few years. Luckily, the Chicago instrumental rock gods' show last night (Sept. 17) at New York's Bowery Ballroom went a long way toward restoring Jaded Insider's faith in the fivesome. They came out on fire with an unknown, almost punk instrumental before nailing "Swung From the Gutters" and positively crushing the heads of everyone in the room with the methodical, super-stoned "Crest."

As usual, the three-way drumming of Dan Bitney, Johnny Herndon and John McEntire was a treat for the ears and eyes, particularly thanks to the latter's awesomely weird facial expressions. More often than not, loudness was the ruling factor thanks to the frantic finish to "Salt the Skies" and the drumfest "Dot/Eyes." It was also amazing to hear the long-buried, deliciously dubby workout "Gamera," although there was no "Glass Museum," recently revived onstage for the first time since 1996. Also played: the electrofunky "Monica" (which forever reminds us of Ashford & Simpson's "Solid"), "Unknown," "Eros" and "Seneca."

Up the Bowery at Webster Hall, a Jaded Insider correspondent caught Golden Smog welcoming former Son Volt guitarist Jim Boquist and singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur onstage during a set dominated by tunes from its new Lost Highway album, "Another Fine Day." Also featured were covers of David Bowie's "Starman" and a blistering, Arthur-sung take on Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

September 18, 2006 | Permalink


My take (plus some mostly blurry photos) is here:

Posted by: DJA | Sep 19, 2006 2:18:15 AM

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