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Saw Jim Perform This Past Monday (review/trip report)!
  • Hi folks,
    After wanting to do it for a really long time, I finally made the trip up to N.Y.C. from Montreal to see Jim perform at The Living Room this past Monday night. It shows that Jim recognizes that people come from out of town to see him, because he was really gracious with his time after the gig - signing autographs, and chatting with fans (myself included). I even saw him hug a fellow. Awww! ;)

    It goes without saying that I was ecstatic to be there, and as an extra bonus I caught the 9:00 O' clock band which to my surprise were EXCELLENT!!! The guys name was Tony Scherr ( www.tonyscherr.com ), and he performed an excellent set of originals, some covers, and had the entire room mesmerized with his singing, storytelling, and guitar chops! As a side note I'll mention I love guitarists who have lots of dynamics in their playing. The band itself were solid as a rock, and you could tell the whole room (band included) were really digging into the music. I was more than happy to buy a record at the end of their set. After seeing this opening band perform it reminded me how great it must be to have a weekly residency at a club like this. These guys had refined their repertoire to the likes of a sophisticated machine! A real pleasure to watch. Anyway, I digress...

    Between the break between Tony and Jim's set I had a chance to speak to some girls from Yugoslavia, and convinced them to stay to see Jim perform. I also made the acquaintance of a nice lady from Atlanta who came to see Jim and visit her son. She was a real sweetheart and invited me to sit at their table. To boot, she was great company to be with to witness Jim for the first time. I've been going to shows alone since I was a kid ( 26 now ), but the communal feeling of witnessing something this intimate from an artist I truly admired and respected was the icing on the cake for the evening. If she's reading this - Merci!

    Jim and his quartet took the stage promptly once arriving, and wasted no time in ripping into "Monkey In A Movie". This was one of those "hair standing up on your arm" moments for me, and I no doubt won't ever forget it. With the relic '59 Tele in hand, artsy club atmosphere, the overcoat, seeing Jim lose himself in the song, it's hard not to romanticize the whole event. It was all REALLY REALLY COOL! Some highlights of the night were a couple new songs "Alana", "Pie Party", and "Dream Dictionary". In particular, I found Jim's solo during "Alana" really moving. The best part of the night for me was hands down, Jim's scorching performance of "American Hips"! The solo's got really dirty, and swampy on this one, and it wasn't something I was expecting at all. The only thing that could have made it better was if people started dancing (I'm not kidding, I'm in the "music is meant to move you, literally!" camp). Watching Jim interact with his band reminded me why we as music lovers continuously evolve, and how our priorities change over time in an attempt to keep the immediacy we have with the music. Jim and his music can continually surprise you, and to any serious music lover, being surprised is one of the happiest and most desirable experiences you can ever have! This really hit home watching the band interact during solo's, and key moments where there'd be a significant movement in the song. You could tell everybody in the band were REALLY LISTENING to each other closely, and not just riffing away endlessly trying to make their mark while they had the chance. Again, a band which was a real pleasure to watch.

    Another point of interest was that there seemed to be some inside joke involving a music chart resting on a wooden stool. At some point Jeff Hill placed a mic in front of it, and somebody commented they should "mic the music chart". Cute, but I figured there was probably more to it. Onward...

    The addition of Erik Deutsch on organ brought some new flavour to some of Jim's newer material, and was much appreciated. I really hope Jim sticks to keeping his band as a quartet for a while. Personally, I'd love to hear "Like Butter" with this lineup. On the bus trip back home I gave "Heavy" a listen, and couldn't help but think how CLASSIC this record sounds. I can't explain it myself, but it just feels like it should be high up on the podium when you got heavy hitters like "Pat and Patsy", "Like Butter", "Twister", "Hamster Wheel", and "Tiramisu". I sound like a real fanboy but I'm trying to objective, honest! It probably goes without saying but watching the virtuosity in Jim's playing is really inspiring. As a guitarist all I wanted to do after the gig was head home and start practicing!

    Other noteworthy gems were "Hamster Wheel" (a favourite of mine, and will always please me), "Pie Party" was great and flourished in the loose environment created on stage. Everybody seemed to be having a good time, especially Erik with his cascading organ runs, which he seemed to be getting a real kick out of. "Twister" brought some special interest from me since I've been practicing it for the last month (having the organ in the lineup really filled up a musical void in my opinion). "Huckleberry" brought a tinge of melancholy to the evening, before the bands cover of Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun" brought the house down, and left me thinking how cool it was that you can go from bitter sweet country-jazz to avant-garde jazz-rock and still retain continuity in the progression. Jim made a joke before the song saying "it's not his best, but the easiest to play". ;) What a night!!

    After the gig I asked Jim politely if I could keep his setlist as a memento, and he obliged courteously (I posted it below). Right before the end when Jim said he was going to do a few more songs I honestly thought this was the end of the first set. I had no clue that nearly two hours had passed by. Goes to show how wrapped up in the music I was.

    The reason I took the time to post this trip report wasn't so much that I needed to share to the world how great the show was, but for anybody out there who's wondering if it's worth coming from out of town to see Jim live. Despite how tough it was to find a replacement for work, and how expensive New York can be, I can really say it was worth it. I'm planing to make a trip back in late November, and this time around will be brining my Tele for Jim to sign.

    After meeting the guy, and seeing him interact in the REAL WORLD I can say he is probably one of the kindest, most gentle, hospitable, and talented people I've ever met. You can tell he cares about people, and having a dialogue with those who share a love of music with him is a privilege. Definitely one of the good guys.

    Setlist For October, 08, 2012 - AS WRITTEN!
    MONKEY IN A MOVIE - A
    JIM'S BLUES - A
    HELEN KELLER - E
    THE PRETTIEST GIRL IN N.Y. - D
    THE PAST IS LOOKING BRIGHTER... A
    TWISTER - B
    DREAM DICTIONARY - E
    WATCHING YOU DROWN... - E
    AMERICAN HIPS - D
    BRYANT'S BOUNCE - Db
    HAMSTER WHEEL - A or BLUES FOR ROY - C
    PIE PARTY - C
    HUCKLEBERRY - B
    THIRD STONE - E

    Extra...
    Mom & Dad Waltz - C
    Goodbye Porkpie Hat - D
    Backburner - D
    Mr & Mrs Mouse - Dm
    Chelsea Bridge - Bb
    Red Light Green Light - E
    Cry Me A River - Em
    Finger Puppet - E
  • Hi NerdDiamond,

    Thanks for sharing this. There will be a day that I make the trip from The Netherlands to NY to see Jim preform. Your story confirms what I already know... Jim is a 'must-see'.

    Glad you discovered Tony Scherr also. Tony is a longtime member of Bill Frisell's trio's and quartets. Check out East/West, an double live album Bill did with Tony and Kenny Wollesen. I'm sure you'll like it.

    Damn, wish I could make this trip to NY this autumn...
  • Thank you so much for coming to the show and for the kind words. You are a good writer.
  • @Sander - Thanks for the tip regarding Bill Frisell's Trio. I'll be sure to look into this once I'm done taking in the live "Tony Scherr Trio" record I bought. The farthest I've travelled to see a concert was from Montreal to Milwaukee in 2004 for back to back Dylan shows at The Eagles Ballroom. Netherlands to N.Y. would be epic!

    @JimCampilongo - You're welcome. If you take one thing from that post I hope it's this fans request for seeing "Like Butter" live. One of my fave songs. ;)

  • Nerd - I took many positive things from your post and "Like Butter" is a great idea.

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