the lights of the city……jayhawks in nyc 1-20-11
The Jayhawks brought some much needed warmth to New York City last night, performing at the venerable Webster Hall. This was a reunion show that saw them performing the album Hollywood Town Hall in its entirety, as well as old favorites, new material and a couple of well received covers.
As co leader Mark Olson pointed out, the past year has seen more releases than the lifetime of some bands, with early demos, their first indie release, a Sony box set and now re releases of what the band refers to as HTH and Tomorrow The Green Grass (with extra tracks). And the best news for ’hawk fans may be a new, as yet untitled release this spring.
The show found Mark and Gary Louris in fine voice and spirit, getting through the first 40 minutes with a faithful rendering of HTH (although weathering some sound adjustments from the house) And was that a wah wah effect employed by Mark Olson on his acoustic guitar? Interesting on some passages, I felt he went to that sonic well a little too often in the early set.
The latter part of the two hour or so hour performance was well stocked with songs from TTGG as well as some early pre record label offerings. The new material was excellent as well, showing off the band’s signature style with lyrical growth and whetting the appetite for the spring release. Some of the finest moments came from two covers, Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” (which Gary said the band used to perform regularly around the time of HTH) and the Victoria Williams tune “Lights ” which closed the show. This found the band stretching out, squeezing in some extended psychedelic passages enjoyed by the band and audience alike. (cue the wah wah effect)
I particularly enjoyed the closer as the Jayhawks contribution to the Sweet Relief project was the first time I had heard the band back in the 90’s. Perhaps this excellent work (featuring the ‘Hawks, Lucinda Williams, Michele Shocked, Mathew Sweet and many more) is ripe for re release…