3/22/09: Great Elk @ Rockwood Music Hall (59/100)

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What a beautiful day: sunny, 50s, and a bit windy. The perfect day to see music at Rockwood Music Hall, where the front window lets the sun pour into this tiny, intimate club. And there I was, ready for some one, two, three o’clock, four o’clock…um, folk. Yes, another daytime show. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rockwood. This means I get to relax at home tonight, maybe make some dinner, tidy up the apartment – you know, normal life stuff.

But first, Great Elk. A band I knew nothing about 24 hours ago. I literally picked them off a list of artists playing at Rockwood starting at three today. After a listen to their myspace page, they seemed a good choice. Plus, a band with an animal name is often a safe bet. See Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Band of Horses, Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear and Dr. Dog, to name a few. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but what did I have to lose?

Check this out. On the walk to Rockwood, I think I passed Adam Yauch(MCA), but I couldn’t be sure. If it was him, then I missed my chance to ask if he and the rest of the Beasties were actually following my Twitter. Or if it’s just some dude in marketing/PR (most likely).

I got to Rockwood a few minutes before four, and some guy who isn’t Great Elk was still on stage. I didn’t feel like seeing anymore music than was absolutely necessary today, so I wandered around the neighborhood for a few minutes. I returned in perfect time, grabbed the exact seat I sat in last time I was at this venue (for Pete and J) and ordered a $3 Coke. No beers today. Can’t do it.

I have to admit that while I was happy to be knocking out some day music, this is the first time I did that while being able to see the sun, which is bit weird. Music is supposed to be played at night, in dark clubs, with mood lighting and shit. Unless you’re at a festival. And Rockwood is the kind of place that makes avoiding the sun impossible, since the windows run the length of the club.

The songs were simple, yet not simplistic. Paul’s (vox/guitar) guitar work reminded me a lot of old Son Volt (circa Trace, Straightaways), and I liked the dropped D and dropped C tunings. The songs didn’t necessarily sound like Jay Farrar songs, just the guitar. I think it also helped that Patrick (guitar) captured a great pedal steel sound without having a pedal steel – just a glass slide, volume pedal and look alike Tele. They were sans rhythm section for today’s show. Which was fine with me. I could use some calm, peace and quiet today after that Cut Copy/Matt and Kim show, and post-partying with Ryan and Erin last night.

As nice as it was, a couple songs in it was really bugging me who these guys reminded me of. Ok, I identified some of the guitar work sounded like old school Son Volt, but couldn’t figure out the voice. Part of me heard traces of Damien Rice here and there. But that wasn’t entirely it. There may have been some Jack Johnson in there, but I blocked that out since I hate him and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the show.

Ok, I know it’s annoying to compare artists to one another, but that’s just what happens. Most of the time, you hear something and think, “Hmm, where have I heard this before?” Rarely are there bands that don’t show their influences in some way or another.

I settled on the weird Son Volt/Damien Rice combo so I could get past it and enjoy the moment. Which I did. Until the moment passed, and Great Elk ran out of time. They thanked us. I thanked them, for the show and free CD (Thx Paul, go to radio.wk.com, Tues @ 2pm). Then headed home, to enjoy my Sunday night.

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