“No band, mo’ money!” Although performing a lot of material from his latest album, which has a fuller, layered sound than previous releases, Damien Jurado stood alone on stage at Brighton Music Hall last week. “I bought this strap so I could stand. This is the first show I’ve played standing up, I’m not quite used to it. I thought I’d mix it up”

But standing alone didn’t last long. He stopped, mid-song and pulled up a chair. Whipping off the strap from the neck of his guitar, he joked “now the guitar has a tail” but lets out an audible sigh of defeat. For a moment, Jurado seemed like Eeyore. But maybe it was just because the limp, hanging guitar strap was reminiscent of the gloomy donkey’s tacked-on tail.

Laughter soon whisked away any “sitting-down blues” that may have remained, with newer tracks like Silver Timothy and Jericho Road captivating the audience. “I just feel bad because you’re all standing” he said to the crowd.

Jurado broke up his set with spontaneous question and answer sessions, which included a question about how he harmonizes while playing solo, inciting a full-on Fleet Foxes parody. “I’m hiding bluebirds in my beard” he sang, before adding, “No disrespect. Great love for those guys. And their beards.” But gristly facial hair brought him to yet another story. Jurado took on the likes of a Spanish accent as he explained the sorts of questions the European press throws his way; “You are from Seattle. Where is your beard?” After working in a few more songs, he opened up for questions again and someone yelled “Play a cover song you’ve never played.” I don’t know about you, but until that day I had never heard anyone even attempt a folk rendition of Dio’s Holy Diver.

As he wrapped up the night with Working Titles, he turned his back to the front row. “I’ve been ignoring you guys all night” he said as he moved to face the other sides of the stage. Paired with warming hues of red light, Jurado’s tunes certainly knew how to combat the cold that night. As a low-key performance with a solid set list, Jurado didn’t provide anything exceptional for our Sound and Energy categories. But what set this concert apart from others was the unexpectedly high level of audience interaction, which  transformed the night into one built especially for the Boston crowd.

When Jurado got off the stage, he didn’t sneak through the door to escape backstage. He headed straight for the merch table and started up conversations with his fans. One thing’s for sure: Damien Jurado, thank your girlfriend for her advice. All that talking led to one hell of a show.

Damien Jurado - 1/23/14 - Brighton Music Hall
Audience Interaction9.1
Visuals6
Energy5
Sound7.5
8.2Overall Score

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