Mason Jennings/The Pines; September 14, 2011; Majestic Theater
Five minutes before the show started I realized I had made a terrible mistake. There was no way this giggling, squealing bunch of college girls and frat boys there to see Mason Jennings were going to shut up for the Pines opening set, and they didn’t.
I used to be a Jennings fan back around the time of his first couple records, but I had grown less interested as the music headed in a Jack Johnson direction and his crowds did too. But still, I didn’t want to miss a chance to see the Pines, the terrific duo of Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt, currently touring with Benson’s brother Alex on keyboards. The crowd was surprisingly somewhat quiet for the first two songs, listening politely during Huckfelt’s “Pray Tell,” and growing even quieter at the start of Ramsey’s haunting “Heart & Bones.” But that was as good as it got, the chatter increased exponentially for the rest of their set. Most of the time I was able to tune it out, but by the time they got to their final song I pretty much wanted to kill everyone around me.
I would have left after their set, but the fellow Pines fan (and only person I didn’t want to kill) that I met during their set told me they were going to be playing some songs with Jennings. Still I am not sure I would have stuck around if I hadn’t run into Marty Finkel. He had jumped off the Jennings’ bandwagon even sooner than I had and we spent the set identifying whether the songs we recognized were from the first or second record. Surprisingly, there were still a fairly large number of these songs, and I was delighted to hear old friends like “Butterfly” and “California” (not sure if it was one or two, but it was the good one). It turned out to be a pretty enjoyable night. The Pines are doing a long run with Jennings, I only crowds in other cities treat them better, they certainly deserve it.