Thursday, April 23, 2009
I have seen Elvis Perkins in Dearland five times now. Last night was easily the best set yet. Granted the past four times have included all of the live favorites that are now committed to tape on their eponymous new album, but they now seem like a well oiled machine. The three men who make up what is In Dearland have never complimented Perkins any better.
We were sitting in the front row and Elvis strutted out with this new look. Gone was the short, semi-spikey and coke-rimmed glasses. Now apparent was a long mop of hair and a pair of tinted prescription glasses, giving a look of more of a dweller of the Haight-Ashbury scene circa 1968 as opposed to a singing troubadour preaching around Max's Kansas City. What was normally saved for the end of the night was what started the night as Perkins played a solo rendition of "123 Goodbye," keep it in the key they normally play it in live as opposed to the more dramatic feel of the album version which I am not a fan of. From there, they transitioned to a rollicking version of "Send My Fond Regards to Lonelyville," another song that showed the band already morphing songs from an album but five weeks old to new versions live. Rather than sounding all ragtime with a break down featuring a bunch of horns and other assorted things, it strolled more like a rockabilly number. This isn't just because drummer Nicolas Kinsey was wearing prescription Rayban's (that was because he left his glasses at home he assured the sold out crowd).
From there, the set featured predominately material from their new album and a few tracks from Perkins' breakthrough Ash Wednesday. They also managed to fit in covers (the sister song to "Weeping Pilgrim" that was "Weeping Mary") and iTunes bonus tracks ("Stay Zombie"). The encore was a solid and swift two songs: after a solo rendition of "All The Night Without Love", we were wisked back in to Dearland with the always amazing "Doomsday".
Being front and center made it such a great show as you were right in the middle of the energy that Dearland gave off. During the more upbeat tunes like "Hey" and "Doomsday" which are famous for Kinsey running around on stage beating his indian drum, he along with bassist Brigham Brough and and multi-instrumental guy Wyndham Boylan-Garnett hoop'd and holler'd so to speak, getting the crowd out of their seats to clap and sing along. And all the while Elvis just stood there. Was he just being a shut in, perhaps a closed off indie celeb? No, probably not. Maybe he doesn't like to be the center of attention, but it would be nice if he could find some more energy, but I guess with such emotion coming from his songs and voice, you have to leave it to Dearland to bring the crowd to their feet.
Elvis Perkins in Dearland Set List
123 Goodbye / Send My Fond Regards to Lonelyville / Hey / Emile's Vietnam in The Sky / Chains, Chains, Chains / Heard Your Voice in The Dresden / Ash Wednesday / Weeping Mary / Stay Zombie / Shampoo / Stop Drop Rock & Roll / Hour's Last Stand / While You Were Sleeping // All The Night Without Love / Doomsday