Photos by: Charlie Homo
We got a little lost on the way to the gig last night due, in part, to losing our bearings among the thousands of people gathered on Market Street to watch floats of Tiger Woods and light things on fire. The melee unfortunately caused us to miss the opener.
Having missed Fences we decamped to the parquet for SFâ€™s Paula Frazer whose bewitching tunes rolled around the Great American as if tumbleweed in a spaghetti western starring Grace Slick. Her operatic falsetto is the cherry atop her earthy, Scotch-Irish but-wouldnâ€™t-be-out-of-place-in-Texas vocal quality; Lucinda Williams peering through the looking glass and seeing 22 year-old Marianne Faithful on the other side.
The standout moment in Laura Gibsonâ€™s too-short set was â€œSleeperâ€ from her 2007 album, Beasts of Seasons. Word is she will be back in town in March with Ethan Rose, her collaborator on Bridge Carols, a beautiful, delicate record of electro-acoustic sounds released earlier this year that should be on your list.
Mark Kozelek opened with “Glenn Tipton,â€ the lead track on Ghosts of the Great Highway, proving that if you name-check Cassius Clay, Sonny Liston, Jim Neighbors and Bobby Vinton in the first minute of your set, itâ€™s gonna be a good night. “I like movies with Clark Gable just like my dad didâ€¦.”
After two false starts on the only Jackson 5 song youâ€™re likely to hear Kozelek do, he recast â€œIâ€™ll Be Thereâ€ in his plaintive tenor. Afterwards the singer, who lives an easy walk from the venue, admitted good-naturedly that he had â€œjust rolled out of bed for this.â€
If Kozelek had recently risen from a nap, it was the audience who was in store for a vivid dream. Over the next hour he coaxed beautiful soundscapes from his Spanish guitar, trading songs off April, his last studio album, with newer compositions that belie his recent interest in the music of Andalusia and the baroque period. When Kozelek finished his encore the audience oozed sleepily onto O’Farrell St. and could smell the cherry blossoms in the early-springtime Tenderloin night.