Gary Louris at the State Theatre

I headed over to the State Theatre last night with Linda. She was interested in seeing Todd Wright playing with Chelsea Lee (as he often does these days, she’s an up and comer) while I couldn’t resist going to see Gary Louris (from The Jayhawks). It was a cool, rainy night and I wasn’t looking forward to parking blocks away and walking over, but Linda had good parking karma and managed to get a spot in the lot, so we walked in with a good 10 minutes to spare. The place wasn’t that crowded, and we even found a couple tables unoccupied ($10 minimum each to sit there, but that isn’t a problem for me at a place with Magic Hat #9 on draft).

Chelsea came out with Todd, and they did a good short set. The strongest original was “Til Morning Comes”, showcased both of them. Their highlight was a cover of “Here Comes The Rain Again”. Chelsea did an admirable Annie Lennox impression, but Todd was the standout, using loops to create a wall of sound, even singing into his guitar pickup (at first I thought he was trying to play with his teeth). We went out afterwards and chatted with them, Daniel Brindley and Chelsea’s folks. Vetiver was playing second and backing Gary up. I’d listened to some of their stuff and liked it ok, so I made sure to catch the last half of their set – not bad, but I’m not sure I’d go see them headline.

Gary Louris

Gary came out next, and quickly established that it doesn’t matter who he’s playing with (which also included Jim Boquist on slide), he makes it sound like The Jayhawks – and that’s a good thing. I like his new album, but it works better live with Jayhawks songs mixed in. “Vagabonds” and “She Only Calls Me On Sundays” were new standouts, but classic tracks like “Waiting For The Sun” and “Save It For A Rainy Day” got big crowd responses, especially since ex-Jayhawk Stephen McCarthy joined in on the latter song. For the encore Gary came out solo, playing other greats “Angelyne” and “Settled Down Like Rain”. But it wouldn’t be a classic without one of the greatest songs of all time, “Blue“, with the whole band – those harmonies get me every time.