Crane Your Swan Neck/The Daredevil Christopher Wright/Jeremiah Nelson & the Mysterious Bruises; December 4, 2008; Café Montmartre
Jeremiah Nelson has been taking some flak over the name of his new band. It seems some folks claim that it hints at domestic violence. C’mon, everyone knows exactly where those bruises come from. For me it’s a description of every bruise I’ve ever had. No matter what you think of the name you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better band to showcase the new songs he’s been writing. A flurry of Dylanesque new tunes have been showing up in his sets at Mickey’s since he took over Robby Schiller’s spot in the line-up. On occasion fiddler Shawn Drake has joined for these loose sets, but this was the first time I had seen upright bass player Matt Donoghue. He’s talking about adding a drummer which seems unnecessary until you learn that he’s been talking to Dan Kuemmel (who plays with Dietrich Gosser) who would be an AMAZING addition.
While songs like “The Daisy Chain” and “Run on Sentence” hint at hours spent listening to Dylan, “Waiting for a Sign” calls to mind a different classic, the Classics IV to be exact and their original “Spooky.” In fact, it doesn’t specifically sound like that song as much as it sounds like how Jeremiah would cover that song. That’s a good thing in case you were wondering. While I’ve always thought Jeremiah was a talented songwriter, these songs and this band are the best thing he’s done. When I admitted as much to him, he confessed winkingly that he had written them all for me. That’s certainly one way to get a good review.
The first thing I heard about the Daredevil Christopher Wright was that they shared a hometown with overnight sensation Bon Iver and that he was producing some of the tracks on their next record. While that information may excite some people, I’ve never quite figured out exactly what’s the big deal about him. I’ve given the multiple year-end best-of list-dweller For Emma Forever Ago many a chance, and I’ve never found it to be anything other than sleepy and pedestrian. Still, if Andy Moore liked them enough to have them on his 30 Minute Music Hour, the least I could do was let go of my prejudice for thirty minutes and watch their show. And hey, guess what, I liked it.
Though I will say I am not sure it is for everyone. The two geeky brothers and their friend don’t exactly look like rock stars, in fact, the boys look more like your average Biochemistry grad student. Three part, mostly falsetto, harmonies dominate every song, but for some reason they don’t grate on me the way Fleet Foxes (also on most best of lists) myriad of voices did the inexplicable three times I’ve seen them. Maybe because DCW never sounded like they were about to burst into the Eagles “Seven Bridges Road.”
Instead they sang deceptively simple songs about, um, cancer and back injuries and lots of things including their namesake who appears to be a fictional character. I bought their four song EP which I will probably never listen to. No insult to them, I just don’t like EPs. But I will be sure to pick up their full-length when it comes out sometime in 2009. And I’ll certainly go see them again next time they are in town.