Thursday, September 20, 2018

Live Review: Marshall Crenshaw @ City Winery 9/18/18

Marshall Crenshaw
City Winery, NYC 

On Tuesday night Marshall Crenshaw sauntered onto stage with bassist Jared Michael Nickerson and drummer Rich Pagano to play a stripped down laid back version of the 80's pop rockers classics and newer songs to (unfortunately) a half empty City Winery.

The trio's volume was toned down to suit the supper club vibe of their surroundings as the kicked things off with a slow and languid version of the Crenshaw nugget "There She Goes Again" from his first album. The theme of the night was jazzy interpretations of the Crenshaw catalog and this fit Nickerson's roaming fingers well as his roaming bass lines lead the way during "Fantastic Planet of Love".

Crenshaw then dove into a few songs he co-wrote with various people but he made special mention of co-writer Dan Bern who helped him with lyrics on a number of tunes including the marching "Learning to Live" and the road song about "fatigue and crumbling infrastructure" "Driving and Dreaming". Both were passable but things picked up with "Better Back Off" and "What Do You Dream Off" which he mentioned was written in bed while literally watching his wife dream, not what critics thought at the time...shows you how much critics know.
"Passing Through" was next and started a lull in the set as "Move Now" wanted to rock but the setting, players and vibe never let it while "Red Wine" was a flat out dud of a tune. The shift to a cover of Buddy Holly's "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" was a welcomed move before "Cynical Girl" (semi surprisingly) received the loudest cheers of the night as it's first chords were strummed.

Pagano produced a unique drum solo which lead into an angular rendition of "Dime a Dozen Guy" playing with some spooky atmospherics that didn't particularly match up with the lyrics but was an interesting adventure on it's own. After a bass heavy straight ahead "Monday Morning Rock" and a clunker "Grab The Next Train" which never left the station, the band played a grooving  "Whenever You're On My Mind" dominated by Pagano's big kick drum. The percussion segued into a rockabilly tale that morphed into "Someday Someway" closing the exploratory set of tunes. 

The encore of "What I Didn't Want To Do" and slowed down, rhythmic take on "You're My Favorite Waste Of Time" capped off the hour and a half of tunes from the trio. Far from a greatest hits act Crenshaw is still experimenting with his sound, his stage show and performance and while things can be hit or miss the relaxed, jazz style on this evening was unique for the small crown in attendance. 
Support the artists, see them live, and peep some video from a very different lineup Crenshaw played City Winery with just a few months ago:

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