Ben Weaver/Dietrich Gosser; August 14, 2008; Café Montmartre
Minneapolitan Ben Weaver recently signed to Chicago’s Bloodshot Records, adding to their arsenal of singer-songwriters. Watching his set tonight I couldn’t help but think they would be better off with Blake Thomas (something I have lobbied for) or tonight’s opener Dietrich Gosser. Weaver’s set was pleasant enough but relatively unremarkable save for some awkward lyrics. Gosser on the other hand was positively stunning.
His second record What the Buzzsaw Sings came out earlier this year following several years of intense work by Gosser and his outstanding percussionist Dan Kuemmel. It fulfills the promise suggested by his first EP City of Trees and expands on it promising even greater things in the future. Kuemmel was unable to come along tonight, but as I told Dietrich, “I was going to ask, but then I realized it didn’t matter.” I do adore Dan, but accompanied or solo, I’m always happy to see Dietrich.
The songs for Buzzsaw have been completed for some time, which means he has a whole ‘nother bunch in the works. The intriguing Tom Waits-ian “Curious Scar” finds him stretching his vocals more than usual, while another I didn’t catch the name of finds him in a more upbeat mood. Somehow the powerful “Abraham” didn’t make the cut for this record, but it continues to be a live favorite. From the record, the sea chantey of sorts “Noah’s Ark” with its chorus of “that moonshine always got him singing songs about Noah’s Ark, one drunk sailor with an olive branch, empty aching heart,” always proves to be my favorite. “The Lord Still Knows my Name” is as full of fire and brimstone as anything Sixteen Horsepower ever recorded.
Since leaving Madison for Chicago several years ago Gosser doesn’t get back up here as much as I would like, but the good news is that it will be a short wait till his next show. On September 5 he’ll be the opening act for Josh Harty’s long-awaited CD release. There are some special things planned for the show, but Dietrich seems a little unsure as to what they are, “there’s going to be free beer and something about Deadwood,” he claimed, “I think it will be Deadwood karaoke, you get to act out your favorite scenes from the TV show.” I’m not even sure what the Deadwood thing is all about, but I guarantee you I will show up early to find out.