Damien Jurado – Whelans – 15-04-16
Damien Jurado’s first major release came in the form of Waters Ave S on Sub Pop in 1997. Now some thirteen albums and nearly twenty years later he released Visions of Us on the Land on Secretly Canadian in March. By his own admission his first gig in Whelans was around 1999 so he is well used to the venue. Some members of the audience seemed to have been following him all that time, and there were a number of hard core fans in the room. He is a very impressive song writer, despite never troubling the higher positions of the charts.
Damien Jurado and his band took to the stage just after half nine. There were five members of the band including Damien, with guitars, bass, drums and keyboard. The opening song of the set was ‘Magic Numbers’ quickly followed by tracks such as Exit 353, Qachina, Lon Bella and Taqoma. Jurado has been going through a strong period in recent years with some of the best albums of his career. There was little interaction with the audience during the set other than the occasional thank you, the focus was firmly on the music. Damien sat on a stool at centre stage and worked his way through his set.
The encore included a number of solo tracks with the rest of the band waiting in the wings. It was in these moments that Damien really opened up to the audience talking about his 15 year old son, who had helped him with the arrangements on the new album. His son has grown up listening to his father play and write music and has quite an ear for it. He also talked about his love for the venue, saying that the room had ‘history’ and felt like a house party. He’s not the first artist to extol the virtues of Whelans and I’d have to say I’d agree, it’s a special venue. The most surprising thing he mentioned was that he grew up listening to bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat, and that is the music he still listens to despite his singer songwriter status. The encore included ‘Museum of Flight’ and the final song ‘Working Titles’. He left the stage just before 11 with a huge ovation from the crowd.
Support on the night came from Siv Jakobsen who played guitar and sang. She was joined on stage by a keyboard player. She suited the audience with her melancholic sound and even managed to include a cover version of Britney Spears, with a slow version of Toxic that worked surprisingly well. The set also included ‘How we used to love’, the song included below.