October 09, 2009
BY JASON SONGE
It might be overkill for me to write about James Hall at this point. Still, after I saw him perform an acoustic set at The Circle Bar on October 9th, I got a feeling that re-affirmed my zeal for his music. I felt that he was "the guy," basically, that it begins and ends with him. That's worth noting, considering Hall has been making music professionally for twenty years. People and things change, but a James Hall performance remains a religious/spiritual experience. I think he's getting better, too. With a tambourine at his feet and his voice the main instrument, Hall was less afraid than ever to show his pain. I've been touched by Hall's songs before, but I haven't been as touched as I was on this night. People love Hall because he extends himself to express something we all feel, but this night, he extended himself further.
With no band behind him to compete against, Hall had much more vocal room to match the tone of each song. He drove home a point by lowering his volume, drawing people closer to his every word. He also put a button on his songs by raising the volume, either in anger, as he did for "Assassination Row," or in hope, as he did during "There Is An Answer."
Hall pulled material that was new and old. Some came from his new band, The Futura Bold("For The Riches," "Room to Room"), while others came from Pleasure Club(a killer version of "Revolution in Red") and his solo material("So Precious").