Saturday, July 22, 2006

Catching Up on Pete Yorn

Val and I caught singer/songwriter Pete Yorn's solo acoustic in-store performance at New World Record on Elmwood Avenue a couple of weeks ago, and damn, it was a fine performance or mini-concert.
Yorn, who Val and I have enjoyed despite only having one of his CDs so far ("Music for the Morning After" from 2001), played five songs to a very enthusiastic crowd of 150-200 people, mostly age 20-30, before his evening show at the Town Ballroom; quite a few of those in attendance impressively sang along with Yorn. We got there early because Val was the official event photographer for New World Record and she wanted to be able to set up on a good spot for the expected large audience. As well as allowing Val to set directly up front to the right of the stage, getting there early gave us a good view of the staff, led by owner Govindan Kartha, quickly moving and rearranging the CD and magazine racks and listening posts to make room for everyone. Kartha first closed the store and very nicely asked those shopping to please come back; Val and I got to stay and watch the setup spectacle.
Yorn opened with "June," from "Music from the Morning After," a very cool song about not wanting a lover to leave when you know they are going/scheduled to (College? Job?), and the crowd really wooped it up for Yorn. "Wow, I broke my cherry in Buffalo," he said with a smile to laughter, then added, "I went to school in upstate New York, Syracuse, and this city is much prettier than Syracuse. Hey, I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass." Yorn then played a bluesier song from his upcoming new CD, "Nightcrawler," or the "Western" CD EP of, you guessed it, more rootsy songs; he prefaced it by noting he had been listening to a lot of blues on Buffalo radio that afternoon (no doubt Jim Santella on WBFO). He played two more new songs, including one I believe is called "It Don't Mean Nothing," a slower, dreamy countryish song he said he wrote for and was recorded by Nancy Sinatra, and a tune I think is called "Vampire," to which Yorn joked, "It sounds like there are bats in here anyway," due to some squeaks from the air conditioning.
Yorn ended his too-short for the fans set with "Life on a Chain," also from "Music for the Morning After," starting with some harmonica along with his guitar, and the crowd came close to drowning him out singing along with the song.
I hadn't caught an in-store performance at New World Record in years, and I have witnessed some great ones in the past (Bailter Space still stands out), but I encourage you to join me/us in doing so.
And on a karmic note: Val and Yorn appeared on the same page of the Austin Statesman newspaper five years ago; Val and I were in town enjoying and covering the South by Southwest Music Festival in April 2001, and Yorn was playing the festival. Val was in a photo taken of a Catamount Records party at Juan in a Million, and there was a concert photo of Yorn. Fittingly, the photo Val was in was about twice the size of Yorn's photo.


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