Califone @ Le Poisson Rouge

Last Sunday I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of seeing and hearing the band, Califone, at Le Poisson Rogue, 158 Bleecker Street, NYC. Califone is led by singer, guitarist, keyboard player, Tim Rutili. His site is here: http://www.califonemusic.com/. He had been the lead singer of the band Red Red Meat in the 90’s. They produced hazy, fuzzy, atmospheres in their songs which suited the lyrics sometimes and sharply abutted against them others. I really love Red Red Meat’s final album, ‘Bunny Gets Paid’. Califone put out ‘Stitches’ last year around this time and I’m still not tired of it, a true testament to the ever-seeking listener. One of my favorite releases of 2013. This was a CD that would not be thrown back! ‘Stitches’ is a bit cleaner and more produced than ‘Bunny Gets Paid’. Not a bad thing mind you…it makes me think Tim has found more confidence in his lyrics and melodies or something (maybe just working with different people). In anticipation of the show I wondered if they would be able to create the edgy, rough bleeding into delicate sounds achieved on ‘Bunny Gets Paid’ or would they perform as close to the album (Stitches) as possible? I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome…it was a mix. The rough sounds they achieved without being too loud and yet that feeling of danger, of everything falling apart and having to let it go was in excellent balance with the melodies. It felt like luck that it worked! But it had to be orchestrated. I imagine what I saw and heard to not be far from a Velvet Underground performance. I don’t know why more people don’t move, physically react to music nowadays. Granted, Califone doesn’t write dance music but it’s music that you can physically feel. The arrangement was Rutili on Guitar or keyboards, 2 drummers, lead guitar player, and bass player. I recognized one of the drummers from shows I had seen in the past and couldn’t restrain myself after the show. I’ve seen/heard Rachel Blumberg over the years playing with The Decemberists, M Ward, and Norfolk and Western. Excellent player and creative soul, http://rachelblumberg.com/. I had the opportunity to thank Tim Rutili and all of the band members for an excellent show…they kind of regarded me as though I had two heads…either that or I was feeling self-conscious approaching strangers. heh. Anyway have a great week and thanks for reading! -p

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