AA Bondy/Gold Leaves; November 7, 2011; High Noon Saloon
AA Bondy admits that he wanted his new record be to be even quieter and mellower than his previous two records. And he’s succeeded. While his last two records had a few upbeat moments, notably the catchy “Vice Rag” from the American Hearts record, Believers never comes close to breaking a sweat. I always say there’s mellow boring and there’s mellow awesome, the latter being especially difficult to achieve, the Great Lake Swimmers, Pernice Brothers and Mojave 3 being some of the best. Bondy has always been just on the awesome side of the line, but he is getting dangerously close to stepping over.
Live he slows everything down even more. Songs like the terrific aforementioned “Vice Rag” are slowed to glacial pace, and “Killed Myself When I Was Young” seemed to be in slow motion. The set began with “The Heart is Willing,” perhaps the most buoyant of the new record, and went into lullaby mode after that. The stage was darker than usual, with most of the light coming from the video projection on the screen behind them, which only added to the sleepy mood. Here’s the weird thing, despite feeling like I was about to drift off during the entire show, I still enjoyed it. It wasn’t as good as his last, equally sedate appearance at the High Noon, but it was still good.
Amusingly, Bondy kept thanking us all for coming out on a Tuesday night. No one bothered to tell him it was Monday; I guess they didn’t want to harsh his mellow.