Ian Moore/Bare Wires/Lotus Moons; July 10, 2011; Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
The two times I saw Ian Moore at SXSW this year were the highlights of the week for me, breathtaking shows so amazing I almost cried. I wished I saw him more often, but he doesn’t tour much outside Texas and the West Coast, and he hadn’t been to Wisconsin since 2008. After I got back I realized I buy plane tickets all the time to see bands, why had I never bought one to see Ian? Luckily on his current short jaunt he was playing San Francisco where a friend of mine had just moved. Coincidentally enough, that friend Connie was with me the first time I saw Ian Moore. The show was at the long gone East End, and it was back when Ian was still a long haired guitar player heralded as the next coming of Stevie Ray Vaughn. I actually didn’t love him then, and if it hadn’t been for Jon Dee Graham I likely never would have seen him again, but thankfully I did.
Jon Dee and Ian were playing together at a bar in Milwaukee and after seeing Ian’s set of gorgeous melancholy, including a Neutral Milk Hotel cover, I was convinced there must be two Ian Moores. (Funnily enough, he said he gets that a lot). It was love at first, er, second sight, and I’ve been seeing Ian ever since whenever I get the chance. After being packed in front of the stage at the Continental Club in Austin, tonight’s crowd was a little disappointing. Yes, it was a Sunday night, but don’t they know how amazing he is? There were a few people who seemed to be in the know, the photographer who snapped a million pictures and the hippy who came up front for the older hits like “Muddy Jesus” and “Keep You Satisfied” holding his video camera high as he danced, but for the most part the crowd was polite but certainly not over-enthusiastic.
No, he didn’t make me cry, but it was still a stellar set focusing mainly on his most recent release El Sonido Nuevo. The set opened the same way the record does, with the fiery “Secondhand Store.” The most likely to get me choked up is the love story “Belle My Butterfly,” my favorite on record and live. Ever since I first met him after the release of Luminaria, his most introspective record to date, his shows have gotten progressively more rock. I love the newer songs, and I certainly love his mind-boggling guitar playing, but I do miss the delicate songs from that record. One thing that hasn’t changed is his use of falsetto. I am not often for the falsetto, but one as beautiful and perfect as his is a pleasure to hear. Back in the days of Luminaria, the shows were often just Ian on guitar and (the amazing and very good looking) Kullen Fuchs on a variety of instruments, perfect for that record’s mellow vibe. These days the band is a rock trio consisting of Matt Harris (The Posies, Oranger) on bass and Kyle Schneider on drums. They are a tight and powerful band, fascinating to watch. If only I knew what the hell a Lossy Coil was.
The other two bands on the bill were entertaining enough. I preferred the first, the Lotus Moons, a bunch of skinny young boys, all of whom could sing, with a penchant for 60’s garage rock. The second band Bare Wires were also good players, but admittedly the best thing about them was the lead singer’s 70’s mustache and his fancy shirt. It was a good bill, totally worth a plane ticket. Hopefully this is just the first of many times I get on a plane to see Ian Moore.
The Lotus Moons
The Bare Wires
Ian Moore & the Lossy Coils