A C Newman + Dent May at Neumo’s, Seattle | 21 February 2008
One might wonder why Carl Newman needs to make solo records, when he’s pretty much the boss of his band the New Pornographers. Actually I’m on of those wonderers, especially with his second solo record Get Guilty. It has the Neko Case harmonies and of course Newman’s songs and voice and it’s not a whole lot different from a New Pornographers records except there are no Dan Bejar or Neko Case songs. The gig was billed as A.C. Newman, but Newman’s band had as many people in his band as if he was traveling with New Pornographers, with violinist and bassist providing harmonies. His second solo record Get Guilty has a more mellow Zombies feel to it where his first one The Slow Wonder had a more early Elvis Costello new wave feel to it. Last night he gave both albums equal attention, interspersing songs from the Slow Wonder to pep up the set with the slower more harmony centric songs from Get Guilty.
Though he currently resides in Brooklyn, Newman is from just up the road in Vancouver, BC. He also has more than just a geographical connection to Seattle, his former band Zumpano put out two very good records on Sub Pop back in the 90’s. So it’s very likely he’s spent a fair amount of time in Seattle, and he charmed the Neumo’s crowd reminiscing back to when the place was simply called Mo’s. He also had a funny story about the song Come Crash, telling how it is coincidentally about a girl with the same name as his wife, and then divulging how his mother-in-law is a huge Scott Bakula fan. This got a big laugh, which makes me wonder if there is some connection between A.C. Newman fans and Quantum Leap. It wasn’t a quantum leap from New Pornographers, but Newman and his band sounded tight, lighting up the songs from the new record making them really crack. Though the Get Guilty songs sounded great, it was the Slow Wonder ones that were the highlights of the night for me, putting me in the camp of still being a bigger fan of his first solo record.
Set List: There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve | Miracle Drug | Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer | Prophets | Secretarial |The Heartbreak Rides | The Cloud Prayer | The Palace at 4 am | All of My Days and All of My Days Off |Young Atlantis | Drink to Me, Babe, Then | The Collected Works | Come Crash | The Changeling (Get Guilty) | Submarines of Stockholm | On the Table | -encore- The Town Halo
Dent May was sporting a brand new magnificent ukulele last night at Neumo’s. He told us he had just purchased here in the emerald city and it required much tuning. Dent tunes his ukulele without the aid of electronic tuners, he prefers his own voice and the age old ukulele tuning tune of My Dog Has Flees. May and his band played a solid, fun-filled set. After getting a look at Dent and his big oval spectacles, one might think what he’s doing is sort of tongue and cheek, but Dent and his band played a very un-ironic set. Dent band consisted of guitar, bass and drums, but I found myself missing the pedal steel, tin pan alley horns in places, but his guitarist and bassist provided the wonderful yesteryear harmonies which are the most essential to his sound. And of course Dent didn’t put down his uke once. Like on his record, May is a crooner with a voice that transports his songs to another time. He made Prince’s When You Were Mine sound as if he had written it, and his own songs like Howard, College Town Boy and You Can’t Start a Dance Party had the place dancing. It was a great set, only it was missing my favorite Dent song, God Loves You, Michael Chang. It was on the set list, but for one reason or another he decided to skip it. Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele will be back in a few months to play Sasquatch, maybe he’ll play Michael Change there?
Set List: Oh Paris! | Howard | 26 Miles (Santa Catalina) | College Town Boy | Eastover Wivez | You Can’t Force a Dance Party | I’m an Alcoholic | When You Were Mine | Love Song 2009 | Meet Me In the Garden
Here are the remaining AC Newman and Dent May dates:
2/24 Sacramento, CA Harlow’s
2/25 San Diego, CA Casbah
2/26 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
2/27 Santa Barbara, CA SOho Restaurant and Music Club
2/28 San Francisco, CA The Independent (Noise Pop)
3/01 Eugene, OR John Henry’s
3/10 Ithaca, NY Castaways
3/11 Toronto, ONT Lee’s Palace
3/12 Montreal, QC Il Motore
3/13 Providence, RI Club Hell
3/14 Boston, MA Paradise
3/15 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom