October 17, 2006
PHOTOS BY TAMARA GRAYSON
I saw a great concert Tuesday night at the Republic. David Bazan from Pedro The Lion played an acoustic solo set, and from moment one, I knew the concert was gonna be special. It was like being in church. Most of the 50 or so knew the words and sung along with Bazan's depressed witicisms. I enjoyed the acoustic sound better(because it was more stark, personal, and raw) than his band work with PTL, but of course, after the concert I went back to the band stuff and was able to appreciate that for being fuller in sound.
Bazan asked the crowd if they had questions between every third song or so, and while most asked about the music, people also inquired about what he ate that night or where he had gotten his sneakers. There was great vibe in the room, and Bazan was a gracious, funny, and self-deprecating host. His feet-shuffling and face-twitching during songs made him endearing and made his music seem that much more delicate.
Bazan is a modern lyrical master of the grey area, just like Dylan, of whom Bazan covered "The Man in Me." He deals with uncertainty of the heart constantly, whether it be in adultery, lies, amorality, or other things we'd rather not talk about. He talks about things we love to relate to but hate to think about. He talks about tragedy, and man his words are hard-hitting("A white ghost, making his way up the west coast/Trying to focus his high hopes on a vagina or two/He's taking his chances/Meanwhile, back in his living room/Bright smiles are watching his toddler run speed trials/Over a grandmother's rug/And nature advances). He can be funny, too, though--"You're so creative/With your reviews/Of what other people do/How satisfying that must be for you/Am I a christian?/Are you a jew?/Did you kill my Lord?/Must I forgive you?"
His music is pretty great, too. He doesn't keep your attention so much by changing meter but by changing rhythm. He kept my attention for 90 minutes, and that's pretty good for one guy on a stage. I wish he woulda played for another 90. It's rare that I hear a singer-songwriter who has so many good things to say that sound so good.
Bazan's songs are a call to arms. A call for honesty, carefulness, and caring.