Smile Politely

A very, very fine house show

David Bazan is touring living rooms across this great nation, and on Tuesday night, he happened to be at the house of Undertow Music‘s Bob Andrews in Champaign. Bazan’s house show tour has sold out every date so far except Des Moines, and the local stop was no exception, with 30 or so folks spread around, sitting on the few available chairs, leaning against the walls, or cross-legged in the middle of the floor. My only regret of the evening was that I didn’t bring a pillow to sit on.

The house show was a great setting in which to appreciate Bazan’s heartfelt songs, which have a strong confessional bent. The pattern he maintained was to play two songs, and then ask if anyone in the audience had any questions or concerns. Over the course of the hour-long set, probably a third of those in attendance asked a question. It wasn’t as awkward as I would have expected; the highlight of the evening was when Andrews’ young son asked Bazan why he changed his name from Pedro the Lion.

Bazan responded that Andrews had asked him that question a lot, too. Then he launched into the title track from his most recent album, Fewer Moving Parts, which frankly details his reasons for going the solo route. Soon afterward, it was time for Andrews’ son to head for bed, and Bazan was able to play his song about “chasing a vagina or two” with a clear conscience.

Bazan played several songs from his forthcoming record, Curse Your Branches, due out on Barsuk Records later this year, as well. The lyrical content of the new songs was consistent with his previous work, with a lot of internal monologues about the inconsistencies inherent in Christian beliefs, and self-flagellation, usually as a result of too much to drink.

It was a fantastic setting and a fantastic set, and with the music industry in a state of flux, perhaps we’ll see more house party tours in the years to come.

David Bazan – “Options” from Joel Gillespie on Vimeo.

If you’re not familiar with Bazan or his music, check out this interview from December which served as a preview of his show at the Courtyard Cafe.


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