Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Night at South Street Seaport: River to River Festival presents Patrick Watson with Loney Dear at Pier 17

This evening we were back at South Street Seaport to attend a wonderful free show featuring the masterly Patrick Watson and his eponymous band, preceded by a terrific set from Loney Dear, onstage at Pier 17.
The River to River Festival called tonight's concert
[a] chance to hear from Patrick Watson’s newest album Adventures In Your Own Backyard.
 . . made at home after a grueling five-year run that saw Watson and his band - bassist Mishka Stein, guitarist Simon Angell, and drummer Robbie Kuster - tour the world in support of two critically-acclaimed and successful albums, including the Polaris award-winning Close To Paradise.
Hailing from the small city of Jonkoping, Sweden, Loney Dear’s primary member Emil Svanängen first began recording homemade, overdubbed tapes of delicate, folkish indie pop in the early 2000s. After several years of touring stateside and abroad, Loney Dear released Dear John, its fourth full-length in January 2012. His album — the appropriately titled Hall Music, is an expansive record that finds Svanängen closer to creating the type of orchestral music he has always sought to bring to life on stage (whether he’s actually playing with an orchestra or not).
The M15 bus brought us to Pier 17 a bit later than we would have liked, but arriving at 7:20 p.m., we sat down in the back of the sitters on the pier, in front of the standards, and were entranced by Loney Dear's densely layered, harmonically intricate chamber pop music.
MusicOMH said of Loney Dear,
Svanängen's voice is still at the centre of it all, and his fragile, earnest performance is something to applaud (even when it's coupled with such obviously intentional heartbreakers like "I woke up, crying in my sleep," as in the stirring "My Heart"). And, for the most part, the swirling strings, stabbing brass, double bass, and clanging cymbals push Loney Dear's music into a new stratosphere of emotional intensity.
Despite the heat and humidity, the audience was large, and probably some of the many tourists at South Street Seaport ambled over to hear at least part of the show. The people who came for Patrick Watson (and Loney Dear) were mostly sitting down, a number of them with drinks, and some around us anyway, had taken off their shoes and gotten comfortable as the serenity of the musical evening took hold.
Patrick Watson pretty much killed it, moving from the piano bench to the keyboard to the microphone, doing what Corwin Kave aptly called "swoony sonic acrobatics."
Our favorite song was dedicated to us -- well, all quiet people -- the haunting, gauzy sound of "Quiet Crowd": The BBC in its review of Adventures in Your Own Back Yard
it’s the subtlety of Watson’s approach – whether he’s serenading us with the sweet comfort of Words in the Fire or offering a Broadway pastiche in a style familiar to fans of Rufus Wainwright – that makes this such a special record. Others this year will be brasher, more immediate, and maybe more innovative, but few will be lovelier, more rewarding or, indeed, better.
It was magical when Loney Dear joined Patrick Watson on the small piano bench on "Big Bird In a Small Cage." We agree with Kaori Fujii, who called tonight's concert "absolutely mind-blowing" and Adeline Tan, who said Patrick Watson was "incredible. . . moving, musically dynamic & mesmerizing."
We're grateful we got to be at Pier 17 tonight.

No comments: