A glimpse in the rearview:

Koushik, Jamie Lidell and Four Tet


Jamie Lidell was the only one really worth seeing during the lineup of Koushik, Lidell and Four Tet Saturday at the Doug Fir. Electronic music can be difficult to put on a show. DJs hunch over their equipment and create rhythms and beats as the audience watches and occasionally dances. But although both Koushik and Four Tet are unarguably talented, they just aren’t performance DJs. But when Lidell walked onto the stage he was all energy, and all showmen. His music, a combination of electronic, soul and R&B, seemed strange coming from a tall British white man who was wearing a long black coat, blue pants and white penny loafers. He quickly worked up a sweat as he hunched over a table of electronic equipment, creating riffs and grooving along to sounds he was creating. As his body moved back and forth sweat fell from his face. He took his coat off, revealing some kind of Asian-looking gold shirt. He seemed slightly out of control, as was his music. He would switch from his place over his table to the microphone, electronic music and looped recordings of his voice backing him up on a soul song.


He proved he could sing, and whether or not a white British guy can really sing soul is arguable, he sounded pretty good. He made music that was fun, and it looked like he was having some of that, too.


Read tomorrow’s Vanguard for a review of Jamie Lidell’s album Multiply



The Frames and Josh Ritter


It’s rare when you meet a musician who takes time to talk with his fans and hug them goodbye. Josh Ritter is one of those few. Though far from a household name in the U.S., Ritter’s developed a small but very loyal fan base here. He played with the Frames at the Aladdin Monday night, and although I regrettably missed his show I was lucky to see fans line up to greet him when he walked to the inside entrance of the venue.


The line was taking its time in moving. I soon found it was because Ritter took his time with people.  He asked people where they were from, mentioned a venue he had played there, autographed whatever they wanted and then gave them a hug. And he was sincere. It’s a sincerity I remember seeing onstage the last show he played at the Aladdin. He played his last song unplugged, sitting on the edge of the balcony with his guitar and singing without a microphone as a light framed his then wildly curly hair.


His pairing with the Frames is a good combination, an Irish band and someone who should be Irish. But although I’m an admitted fan of the Frames it seemed like they’ve been touring for too long. Maybe it was the fact that the venue was far from packed, maybe it was because it was Monday, but the band was missing a little bit of that energy that makes them a band worth writing and listening to. But the complaint is a small one. They have a visible musical chemistry with one another, and with the audience. And any Irishman, like lead singer Glen Hansard, who can pull off singing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” deserves some props. They have the ability to make an audience feel like they’re being sung to, at times with a lullaby and sometimes with a rock song. And it’s the kind of lullaby and rock song to which you always want to sing along.