What a voice.
Since discovering Jose Gonzalez in 2005 (and don’t you even pretend that you were into him in 2003) I’ve been dying to see him live. His simple, direct acoustic music really struck a chord (!) with me but I always managed to just miss him here in Sydney. Luckily we scored tickets for tonight’s intimate seated gig at The Factory as Jose continues to kickstart his In Our Nature campaign.
On record Jose’s voice is amazing but I was really astounded to find that he manages to pull that voice off all the time: his singing was flawless tonight and the crowd hung on every note (there was complete silence during every song). Armed with just his guitar, his voice, and his foot (which was mic’d!) Jose filled the room…anything else would have been superfluous. He managed to play most of his upcoming record as well as a fair chunk of Veneer and his ubiquitous covers. You really couldn’t ask for more. But by withholding Heartbeats until the encore he certainly made a few people in the crowd nervous.
It’s hard to gauge the new songs on just one listen. In Our Nature hasn’t leaked yet so other than the two streaming tracks on HisSpace every new song was just that: completely new to me. On the whole the new stuff keeps the same sound but the lyrics are much more outward looking than most of his earlier stuff. The new songs are also concise, short and add some new picking styles to Jose’s repertoire.
It’s hard to pick highlights. I thought Down the Line was great as Jose tapped out a rhythm with his hand against his guitar throughout the entire song. Crosses was also great. Massive Attack’s Teardrop (which will be on the new record) also brought the main set to a powerful close. But ending the night with Heartbeats and Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart was perfect.
1. Deadweight on Velveteen
3. How Low
5. In Our Nature
7. Time To Send Someone Away
9. Killing For Love
10. All You Deliver
12. Down the Line
13. Hand On Your Heart
17. Love Will Tear Us Apart
I also forgot to mention the support act, Sydney’s Rand and Holland. I had never heard them before so when they came out and opened their set with a VERY post-rocky song I was expecting a set full of lengthy, droning pieces of music. Instead, the band blended folky acoustic blues with some of the elements of the post rock genre in a set that wasn’t amazing but still enjoyable. Although Amanda thinks they need to improve the lyrics. And the guitarist had an amazing looking old guitar that had some beautiful tones. I want one.