This show was wonderful. Almost exactly a year since I last saw Chris play (also at the Luminaire). I love that symmetry. I love how you can have constants like that, through songs and people and locations. I find it really interesting. Anyway. This particular evening was different from last year, in many ways. Chris has a new record and brought over his band this time.
My friend Anthony was promoting the show and Spotify wasn’t working so he let me DJ. I always enjoy choosing songs for other people to hear. I also wound up getting to do a little interview with Chris. Before the interview we went to the dressing room and there was an extra treat in store. We were going in and my friend said my name and somebody said ‘Anika?’. It was Ben Shapiro! Ben plays the drums in one of my most favourite bands, Scary Mansion. I had never spoken to him before but he remembered I went to Paris to see them play and it was a pleasure to meet him. He’s a particularly brilliant drummer, I remember watching him in Paris and thinking he was ‘amazing‘ (is it okay to directly quote myself? it feels weird). It made me really happy to see him and to hear that Scary Mansion will hopefully come over next spring.
So Chris collected some tools and we did the interview in the stairwell while he tried to fix his harmonium (the piano had dropped on it). It was lovely that Chris remembered me from a year ago and it was a real treat to get to talk to him. He’s completely charming and very sweet and, from talking to him, you really get the impression he so genuinely cares about the songs and the shows. I’ll transcribe the interview soon and post it on here.
The set seemed to fly by. Chris opened with Hands on the Radio from the new record, El Radio. The song is beautiful. I can’t remember the exact setlist but it was alot of songs from El Radio. They played Castle Time, We Don’t Try and Relief from Music For Tourists. Anna’s cello parts are so sweet. I love the cello and I think it really adds alot to Chris’ songs. It bears repeating that Ben is a wonderful drummer. The drum parts on songs like Dirty Night Clowns and Love Zombies are really playful, and he’s so animated when he drums. The broken harmonium just about made it through The Leaving Song. For the encore they played a song written by Chris’ friend Jenny O, called Sugar. Abandoning the harmonium, they closed playing Not Nice.
It was a solid set which I enjoyed from start to finish. I can’t wait until the next time I get to see Chris and his band play their beautiful songs. If you get the chance to see them play, go along. You can hear songs on Myspace and I would really recommend picking up anything you can get your hands on. What with the wintery season approaching I particularly recommend the C-Sides EP, not least because it features the imminently apt It’s Almost Christmas, but also because a wonderful version of Blue Suede Shoes (original song, not Elvis cover) is on there. Pick it up at a show!