The feeling of getting lost in a show (not literally, because that sucks, especially when you’re 13 and at a punk show for the first time) is something that doesn’t happen often. However, when it does, it’s indescribable. You lose track of time and what life is like outside of that enclosed venue. That’s what it felt like at Jonathan Wilson’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 2/14 (the sexiest day of the year).
The opener, which my boyfriend and I missed half of, was The Blank Tapes hailing from Los Angeles and capturing that hazy, washed out vibe SoCal is known for nowadays. From what I heard, most of their songs sounded quite similar, but were broken up with lead singer and guitarist Matt Adams’ searing guitar solos, every note hit with precision.
Then, Jonathan Wilson came on, unassumingly, in what I can only describe as a guitar wizard/alchemist’s garb. They got right down to it, opening with “Fanfare” off his sophomore release, aptly named, Fanfare. The song’s instrumental opening was about five-minutes, building up suspense and setting the standard for songs to come. Wilsons’ backing band was tight and took cues from him instantaneously.
The song that got me hooked on Jonathan Wilson over a year ago was “Desert Raven” off of his first record, Gentle Spirit. It was the one I had been waiting for the whole set, although when he finally played it–an 8-minute song originally–he condensed it to five, leaving us feeling rushed. However, the real showstopper, which came in the middle of the set, was “Can We Really Party Today?” a song that was, admittedly, not my favorite off of Gentle Spirit, but evokes a completely different atmosphere when played live.
Well over two hours later, Jonathan Wilson and Co. closed out with “La Isla Bonita”, a Madge cover. After all that time spent with him, he barely spoke a word, instead letting the music speak for him. I think that’s the way he wants it, and that’s OK with me.
Listen to the title track off Fanfare, here via Soundcloud: