[In relation to my CMJ coverage, allow me to pre-emptively apologize for two things: 1) my camera is not fabulous with concert photos, 2) I won’t be hosting many mp3s direct. The reason for the latter is that my current connection is rather slow, so it takes me ages to download and upload things. Since most of the mp3s I’d be hosting for the bands I will discuss would come from MySpace anyhow, it saves time, energy and bandwidth if I show you where you can find the mp3s. This won’t become regular T-Sides.com practice – it’s just for this CMJ coverage.]
CMJ Day Four
Show Attended: Joseph Arthur @ Southpaw in Park Slope, Brooklyn
The music business — especially rock ‘n’ roll — is one that is built around eccentric, outlandish characters. To stand out in a sea of personalities such as that tends to indicate either exaggeration or simply having it, so to speak. With his performance at South Paw, Joseph Arthur was convincing enough to make even the casual concert attendee believe that he does indeed have it.
Taking the stage in an office-like outfit that he fashioned into a diy piece of art and a pair of sunglasses, Arthur was captivating the moment he appeared. His music is equally as captivating. It’s not that his sound is so alarmingly different, though he’s certainly not generic. What’s more remarkable is that there’s a comfort hidden in his melodies and tragic similies that makes listening to him feel like you’re listening to a long-lost friend from childhood, or a kindred spirit from a past life. It’s a rare occurrence, but the ordinariness in his art is precisely what’s so appealing about it.
In contrast, it’s his antics on stage that are part of what’s so appealing about his live show. He played with a puppet, sent streams of toilet paper flying into the audience, used the size of the stage to its full capacity for movement, and encouraged audience sing-along during a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” (to which yours truly danced like there was no tomorrow).
Copies of Arthur’s live shows are made available for purchase immediately after each concert, but alas, the burner wasn’t working on the night of his Southpaw show. However, our friend Gavin Paul at RollingStone.com managed to snag a few tracks, and was generous enough to share one with us. Thanks, Gavin!
Joseph Arthur: “Black Lexus (Live at CMJ)” (download)
Everyone who missed this show: No, seriously.