The Angst of a Singer-Songwriter
The nature of the singer-songwriter seems to be that of baring one’s soul to his or her listeners, and Glen Phillips (known for his work with Toad the Wet Sprocket) did just that at Club Passim during the first of two shows on Friday night.
While somewhat familiar with his band, which will tour again soon, I did not know his solo work which, unlike many in the room who appeared intimately familiar with that body of work, put me at a disadvantage. Glancing around the room, I saw people singing or mouthing the lyrics to many songs proving that he has a devoted local following. After seeing this show, I consider myself to be a new fan. I shared a table with a couple who traveled from London just to see this show!
Glen spoke openly about his anxieties, giving us more than merely a glimpse into his soul. He talked of being half Jewish as well as of having many dark thoughts. I do not know if he writes songs to work through those anxieties or because they make good songs, but whatever the reason, they work.
He performed new songs, old songs, and a few songs that have yet to be recorded. Glen had not played some of the songs in a while and put the capo at the wrong fret several times, shaking his head at himself each time as he started to sing in too high or low a key.
Glen played several Toad the Wet Sprocket hits which I recognized. He also requested audience participation on the chorus of several songs late in the nearly two-hour set (which was lengthy considering he did a late show, but nobody – including this writer – was complaining).
I am glad I saw this show, and sorry I cannot write in greater detail. I intend to see him again after I familiarize myself with his body of solo work.