Jose Gonzalez @ The Fillmore

Jose Gonzalez with Mia Doi Todd @ The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA; March 27th, 2008

So I went to see a pair of lovely folk singers last night. Apparently it was sorority / fraternity night at The Fillmore, or better yet; a football crowd showed up for the quiet, acoustic sounds of Mia Doi Todd & Jose Gonzalez. Must’ve been a lot of colleges’ spring break week, because I’ve never seen this type of hootin’ n hollerin’ audience attend this type of concert. It was maybe one of the weirdest concert experiences in recent memory. Let’s talk about the show and I’ll go into detail further about all that…

Last night’s opening act, Mia Doi Todd from L.A.- wow, what a beautiful voice! Think: stripped-down folk, bare bones acoustic neo-soul. In between songs she spoke a little about some things; she has this endearing awkwardness that totally drew me in, I’m magnetized by creative nerdy girls with guitars (Laura Veirs, St. Vincent, etc…).

Here’s Mia doing her thing…

…she was joined by a percussionist, Andres Renteria.

Then onto Jose– he started out solo, working through a few songs before being joined by backing vocalists / percussionists.

I was really impressed with the lights at The Fillmore, they seemed to match the mood of the songs. I’m a huge believer in the concept of sound as color, and I think the marriage of the two played quite well last night…

Deadweight On Velveteen
Slow Moves
Stay In The Shade
In Our Nature
How Low
The Nest
Down The Line
Killing For Love
Cycling Trivialities

Broken Arrows
Time To Send Someone Away

Okay, let me rant a moment about this crowd- when I last saw Jose (last October at The Great American Music Hall) you could hear a freaking pin drop during the songs, there were no woot’s and people yelling out song requests, they just let Mr. Gonzalez do his thing. Here’s my review of that show.

I should’ve figured the crowd would have been packed with jerks last night, during Mia‘s set there was a lot of ruckus from the bar alongside the left side of The Fillmore‘s lower level, as her set went on she had to fight her voice through the inattentive wankers.

I was able to get dead center, about 10 rows back from the stage, where the sound is usually best. But some popped-collar frat boy next to me decided he was going to serenade his ditzy blonde date. Luckily the douchebag only knew like 3 songs, saving himself from even more dirty looks from yours truly.

And to the Amazonian woman next to me, thanks for all the elbows! Seriously, if you’re like 6-foot-2, stand in the back and let us 5-foot-8 people who actually want to be at the show stand up front.

To the screaming drunk girls behind me: you fucking broke my eardrums with your shrill screams and pleas of “I love you Jose!” Yeah, he knows- you forked over $35 bucks to see him, I think he knows that already. We all love him, that’s why we went to his fucking concert.

As the show ended and people turned to the cattle-shoot they call an exit at The Fillmore, my show-mate Alison was like, “what a weird crowd for this type of music…” My sentiments exactly; I can’t figure out what happened between October’s show and last night. Is it because Jose‘s new album (In Our Nature) had a few videos attached to its release and MTVU or whatever brain-dead college kids watch these days picked them up and brought Jose‘s music to all the Dave Matthews-loving, Axe body spray-wearing, Xbox-playing “bros” and their female counterparts, the blonde-headed sorority sisters?

That’s definitely a question I’ll be pondering next time I see Ticketmaster’s concert alerts; I think I’ll sit out Jose‘s next visit to the Bay Area…

The Mountain Goats @ Bimbo’s 365 Club

The Mountain Goats at Bimbo’s 365 Club, San Francisco, 2/29/08 with Jeffrey Lewis & The Jitters and Okay.

I’m going to be completely honest. Usually when attending a concert, I try to get there as close to when I think the headliner is playing. I don’t want to sit through a shitty band, or possibly two. Last night was no exception. I’m looking at the tickets, and I’m like, “hmmmm, doors at 7, show at 8, we should get there about 8:45 or so…” Again, I don’t want to sit through shitty music for one minute.

So we timed it pretty good, getting there at 8:45, but alas, how dare an opening band still be playing? *gasp* Not realizing there was another band on before the supporting band, I was shocked after a few minutes to learn that they didn’t suck. They were actually Okay, from right here in the East Bay.

Then, all my dreams of making fun of the supporting band were dashed as they took the stage. They were fucking great, Jeffrey Lewis & The Jitters from some place called Brooklyn. Jeff Lewis is a master storyteller, starting their set with an ode to Ramen noodles. Yes, we’ve all had times in our lives when we subsisted on nothing but the rectangular packages of shrimp-flavored non-nutritional noodles, as Lewis reminded us that all the “artistes” in the Lower East Side do. Or maybe there was a time in my life when I did too, but having a few extra quarters to also get some day-old bagels.

Their set was excellent, and as it went on I realized that I’d heard them before. He’s they guy who wrote the Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror, if you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and click the link on his name and listen to that now. It’s pretty fucking hilarious. Lewis’ set was also punctuated with his story books, as he told stories while flipping pages to his drawings to tell his stories. “The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane” was funny as shit, as I also haven’t eaten acid in a long time and can no longer relate to Grateful Dead or Phish fans, having traded my tie-dyes and sandals in for regular clothes. I now dress like an ordinary guy, too.

I was glad we got to see both opening bands, I’m pretty sure Jeffrey Lewis is my new favorite artist.

Jeffrey Lewis & The Jitters, rocking the crowd…

Then The Mountain Goats took the stage about 10:30. John came out, all smiles, and all the women swooned as Peter took up his bass. I swear it got warmer in there by about 10 degrees. John was wearing a death metal band T-shirt, apparently all he listens to is death metal and reggae. Imagine that, being something of an indie icon and not even listening to indie rock at all. That’s why he rules.

Acoustic-based folk metal ditties by John Darnielle…

In full swing now…

Here’s a look at the setlist. They played almost the whole new album, and of course some old favorites. Not playing The Best-Ever Death Metal Band or No Children, two songs I really wanted to hear, are forgiven when you have like 456,743 songs, it’s tough to play them all. And they’re playing two more shows this weekend, so I’m sure the crowd at The Independent or the Bottom Of The Hill will get those jams…

Michael Myers Resplendent
Heretic Pride
You Or Your Memory
How To Embrace A Swamp Creature
Sinaloan Milk Snake
Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident
Going To Georgia
So Desperate
Waving At You

November Love Song

In The Craters On The Moon
Sept. 15th 1983

San Bernardino

Lovecraft In Brooklyn

Dance Music

This Year


Second Encore
California Song

* – on John loving the crowd: “You guys are my favorite, and I’m not just saying that. Go on for all the live shows on there and I’ll prove it to you…”

If you aren’t yet a Mountain Goats fan, seriously, what’s wrong with you?