March 29, 2012

Lincoln Barr, Bahamas, Loney Dear at Chop Suey

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Bahamas ::: photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

Red Jacket Mine lead singer Lincoln Barr opened the night with an excellent set. Performing solo but commanding the stage, his swagger and playing style hinted at the influence of great rock and roll singer-songwriters like Lou Reed and Joel Plaskett, and kept the normally-chatty early crowd rapt and “unnervingly respectful.”

Bahamas maintained his reputation as Canada’s most understatedly charming performer. Most of his setlist came from his breakup-themed February release, Barchords, but even his heartbreak songs have a way of sounding like sex, and so once again the audience offered their full attention. Traveling only with two backup singers – his drummer had recently flown home to the embrace of new parenthood – Bahamas offered minimalist arrangements of his material interspersed with a dry, quiet banter that kept the mood light and the flow steady.

While playing, Loney Dear displays the intensity and fast twitch muscle movements one would expect from a man smaller than his teddy bear size. But when he speaks, he exhibits the same charming mastery of banter as Bahamas. (While not subtle, his proclamation of Seattle as the “dream city of [his] heart” certainly makes him no enemies.) His almost-one-man-band used guitar, percussion, mics, and an array of pedals – and one accordionist – to create a gently humming, atmospheric sound that served as a pleasant and appropriate closure to a delightfully low-key Saturday night.

Lincoln Barr ::: photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

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Lonely Dear ::: photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

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