Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston brought on a decent turnout last night at Slowdown.

The enigmatic singer/songwriter brought in a few hundred people, but it was far from packed. If you wanted to be close to the action, fine. If you wanted a seat in the back, no problem. Also the first time I've ever seen the balcony closed when it wasn't a front-room show.

If you want to learn more about Johnston, read the World-Herald article I wrote from last week.

Johnston performed by himself for awhile on acoustic guitar. Then he was joined by another guitarist for a few songs. He left the stage and came back with a full band (Omaha's Rayguns) to back him up.

Each part of the set showed different sides of Johnston. The first showed how simple and honest he could be with his rhyming words and shoddy guitar playing. The second phase showed how his songs can be turned into acoustic ballads with another, more skilled guitar player behind him.

The third phase had Johnston rocking out, grabbing the mic with two hands and sometimes screaming the lyrics. The band was with him for one night, but they had practiced and sounded like they'd been doing Johnston's songs for years.

Favorite moments were Johnston singing a rocking version of "Casper" with the full band and him doing a cover of the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."

Here is some crappy cell phone video that I took of the Beatles cover. Video is OK, audio could be better, but you can still hear. Enjoy:

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