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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Sunday, October 31, 2004

"A Weird Burt Bacharach Tropicalismo" Thing

That's how Jim White described the recorded version of "Static on the Radio" that he performed in concert last night. It's that kind of humility and humor that made White's show one of the best I've seen in years. He performed entirely by himself, introducing various pedals and effects as his band. He relied on a Boss loop machine and pre-recorded drum tracks for his backing, but it was his voice and lyrics that really made the show. That, and the toy stereo and melodica he employed. As a bonus, he played just under half his songs on a "banjocaster" that a friend had built for him.

White told stories between every song. Usually such talking irritates me at shows, but White's such an outstanding storyteller that the 2 hours of the concert flew by. Every tale -- whether about the making of his film, visits to Pentecostal services, or the recent hurricanes to hit his hometown of Pensacola -- fascinated me. White spoke honestly and openly, even thanking an audience member for bringing a child, because it warmed his heart while he was missing his 6-year-old daughter. He comes off exactly as he would describe himself, as a regular guy who liked playing guitar in his bedroom and ended up in the uncomfortable world of entertainment. The only way he seemed uncomfortable, though, was in the use of all his technology.

Bonus: He didn't leave the stage before the encore, commenting on how absurd that tradition seems.

This show was White's last one in the States before heading to Europe, but I can't recommend strongly enough that you try to catch him on his next tour, and pick up the new album, Drill a Hole....


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