The Circle Bar
August 30, 2004
I thought I had missed the beginning of the show as I walked up to The Circle Bar and heard music. Turns out it was just Sean Moran practicing his songs outside the door. If he had any trepidation about his solo acoustic set, he didn't show it as he walked in from outside a few minutes later, sat down, and started playing.
Moran played enjoyable percussive and grizzled songs. They had a traditional rock feel and a lust for life best characterized by punk rock. Most were songs of woe, but I didn't tire of them, probably because they were well-structured and melodic. Moran used silence to his benefit and paced the songs well. Many times over, he paused and threw in a hook by cutting through his strings with a swift and strong stroke.
The best moment of the night came when Moran invited a guitarist friend to cover a Johnny Thunders song with him. Moran's aforementioned theme of living hard made his cover choice appropriate. No rocker probably lived harder than Johnny Thunders, the late ex-guitarist for The New York Dolls and a great solo artist as well. Thunders was known for his drunken stupors and simple three-chord rock n' roll. Still, "You Can't Wrap Your Arms Around a Memory" proved he could be poignant and vulnerable. Moran and his friend toasted Thunders before they played the song. The universal feeling of loss surrounding the number had most of the song singing the lyrics before it was over. It's no surprise artists as different in style as Ronnie Spector and Guns N' Roses have covered the song.
The Circle Bar was crowded for a Monday night, and they gave Moran much applause. I didn't expect much from Moran because I heard he was the drummer of Rahlude. That was just ignorance. Actually, when the second member of Rahlude joined Moran after his set, the night went downhill. The songwriting was not as striking, and the two guitars clashed with one another.
Hopefully, even though he is just a lowly drummer, we'll get some more acoustic performances out of Sean Moran.