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Review Fri Sep 12 2014

Jad Fair and Danielson Showed Schubas Their Solid Gold Heart

There is rarely a year where Jad Fair isn't a prolific and mesmerizing artist. 2014 is no different, seeing how he has released a new Half Japanese album Overjoyed and was named Joyful Noise Recordings' "Artist in Residence", which has Fair collaborating with four different artists to release four full length albums throughout the year. The most recent release, Solid Gold Heart, was made in conjunction with Daniel Smith of Danielson and the incredible Kramer. The album itself is a product only this grouping could make. It's a big and energetic display of pop songs at their most entertaining. They came to Schubas earlier this week to share the album with the Chicago crowd.

casey scott.jpgThe show started with Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough, members of the long running NRBQ. They both are great musicians with a wonderful handle on their instruments, which included a kazoo Ligon pulled out for a song or two. That being said, it was a bit surprising when they noted it was McDonough's first time playing the upright bass in public. There was no indication in his performance which was virtually flawless. The songs were a mix of NRBQ songs ad covers from a variety of artists including The Delmore Brothers and Roy Orbison. They even asked for a request, which came in the form of "Walk Right Back", originally recorded by The Everly Brothers, whose songs were covered quite a few times. "Bottom Buck", a song Ligon wrote with his brother in mind, was a nice bright spot of the set, which ended with a compassionate rendition of "Don't Blame Me". The duo garnered the approval of the audience and Jad Fair, who sat off to the side tapping his foot and applauding along with crowd.

jad danielson.jpgJad Fair came to the stage with the members of Danielson dressed in their matching uniforms. Renown bassist and producer Kramer sat stage right, carefully tuning up for the show. Fair and Daniel Smith set up sheet music stand in front of them, holding up the nights lyrics. Make no mistake; Fair and Danielson were fully integrated into the project, as Fair very keenly professed the unity in making the album. The night was for Solid Gold Heart as the setlist consisted of the entirety of the new album, played track by track.

The first song, "Go Ahead", instantly displayed the distinct attributes every musician brought to the album. Fair's lyrics are verbose and enthralling, going on turns that are accentuated with his incredibly identifiable cadence that has been honed over the years. Daniel Smith's high falsetto quickly rang out in boisterous acclaim, weaving in and out of Fair's voice with finesse. Smith would echo the song titles after performing them, stretching his hand out as if presenting them to the audience. While Smith and Fair held the obvious focus, it was the poised Kramer that entranced Schubas the most with his bass. Together the elements combined into a perfect package, playing songs like "Not No" and "You Got Me In A Spin" with spirited enthusiasm.

jad danielson 2.jpgThe ending moments of the concert were an incredible journey into every end of Fair's genius. Fair went off on an improvisational scat riff of "Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)" for the encore. It was a quick exclamation mark to the end of the set which had just previously hit an enormous peak with what turned out to be the final full band song of the night. Smith had knelt down, letting Fair come to center stage. Fair stepped to the very edge of the stage holding a guitar adorned with his art, a collapsible neck, and loose strings; bereft of the sheet music stand he had been using throughout the night. He began to speak so passionately, so fluidly, that I barely recognized that it was the opening lyrics of "This Could Be The Night". During the song, Fair held a tempered intensity, one that comes from a confidence found only with age. It all felt so spontaneous, like a sudden declaration from Fair's soul. In a way, that's exactly what it was as he urged the audience on, telling them about his brown eyed angel. Fair descended in mad strumming during the song's finish, radically moving the hinged guitar neck every which way unit it finally came undone. It was a bustle of energy, leaving everyone with a huge grin on their faces. Jad Fair, Daniel Smith with the members of Danielson, and Kramer' performance was exactly how Fair described an angel's kiss: cool.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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