Doveman @ Le Poisson Rouge 6-18-09

19Jun09
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Thomas Bartlett and Aaron Dessner

First off, when we walked into the performance space at Le Poisson Rouge last night it was like we entered another concert dimension. There were people, lots of people, sitting down and eating and drinking. The stage and instruments were set up in the middle of the room, while the audience was seated at tables surrounding the stage. Now, I must say that it was like 7:45 at this point. So, instead of being early, we were actually getting there relatively late in the game. This whole set up was different than the standing-room-only Frightened Rabbit show I saw there last time (even the stage was in a different area). So it was clear that this was a more formal event. It also started on time at 8pm, which was actually a welcome change.

So the opener was Sam Amidon, a folk singer/songwriter and banjo player. I know about this guy because he is from Vermont. And I have learned that Vermonters stick together, especially in NYC, and they support each other’s artistic endeavors and encourage their almost-from-vermont-but-not-quite-because-it’s-really-massachusetts friends to join along.

Anyway, so Thomas Bartlett (aka founder of Doveman), played piano and keyboard as Amidon sang and played guitar and offered up quirky anecdotes. Then the stage cleared and Bartlett and Amidon re-emerged, but this time they took the stage as Doveman and were joined by a number of fellow musicians. These included such familiar names as Nico Muhly, Bryan Devendorf, Bryce Dessner, and Aaron Dessner.

The band played a bunch of songs that will be released on an upcoming album. And Bartlett admitted that he is not a fan of rehearsing so he warned that the beginning and ending of each song might be a little off, but the middle sections were going to be really good.

I was just impressed that Aaron and Bryce Dessner were there, as they seem to be just popping up everywhere—first they produced the Dark was The Night album and live concert, now I see that they have a multimedia project with visual artist Matthew Ritchie that will debut during the 2009 BAM Next Wave festival in October. The guys were playing last night to support Bartlett, their sometimes bandmate in The National.

Overall it was a really good show, I ended up liking the whole idea of having the stage in the middle, even though some of the band members were hidden from my view during the show, and I pretty much looked at Bartlett’s back the whole time. It didn’t matter, as long as they sounded good. Also, not only was the audience packed in tightly, the musicians and instruments were pretty close as well—sometimes really close, like when Bartlett and Muhly shared a piano seat. Bartlett played the piano while Muhly played the keyboard making them appear to be conjoined musical twins.

Here are some pictures from the show:

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Doveman

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Nico Muhly joins for a few songs

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