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Jason Lytle at the Paradise

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Jason Lytle sings his lil heart out

Tuesday, July 25, 2006. Boston Paradise Rock Club. I showed up to the Paradise about 6:45, the doors were supposed to open at 7, show at 8. However, Jason & Co were running late from New York, and didn’t even arrive at the venue until about 8:15-8:30. The reason I know this is because they pulled up in front of the Paradise in Jason’s white Chrystler Town & Country (“which hasn’t seen a whole lot of country”), complete with Montana plates, and parked right in front. Jason and two guys immediately hopped out and hurriedly started dragging their equipment into the club. I thought it was neat that they were carrying everything for the tour, including themselves, inside the modestly-sized van.

Anyway, after about 30 minutes or so, the bouncers opened up the doors and the small crowd that had waited patiently outside, some of us for two hours, began to filter in.

It was interesting for me to see all the people that had come out for the show; I’m always interested in observing people who are Grandaddy/Jason Lytle fans, and interested in seeing what they look like. The crowd included a decently wide variety of ages, from probably about 18-55. It consisted of about 2/3 guys, and all the women that were there were attached to guys…I think I was one of the few (if not only) single girls there, and definitely the only girl there by myself. There were probably a total of 60 people for the show–which was pretty small, but I was glad that it was.

When I got inside, I was surprised to see folding chairs set up on the floor, which lent the atmosphere more towards an arty recital than a rock show–it caught my interest. On stage, in front of a sensuously-lit gorgeous red velvet curtain, was a table set up with a drum machine, a synth, some amplifiers and a mish-mash of other random instruments: a tambourine, guitars, cymbals, and two recorders among them. In the center of the table was a small, warmly-lit table lamp which had two set lists taped to either side of it’s cream-colored shade.

I ordered a Corona and sat down in the front row, to the left side of the stage. Nik Freitas came out shortly after and began singing. He was a sweet-tempered folk singer, dressed in a soft brown and white plaid shirt, the kind you see on kind suburbanite guys who spent lots of their free time fishing. He played an acoustic guitar and sang. He had sad, soulful lyrics and a voice that reminded me a lot of Paul Simon. He played about 8 songs or so. I liked him.

Jason hopped out on stage 15 minutes later with another guy I with whom I was unfamiliar, later introduced as Rusty Miller, a friend of Jason’s from California who plays in a band called Jackpot (must check them out later). Jason was boyish and timid, wearing sneakers, brown shorts and a white short sleeve oxford underneath a gray hoodie that covered his face and green farmer’s cap–the typical Jason Lytle uniform. Rusty was wearing a brown button down Hawaiian shirt and a straw hat that made him look like he had just come from a sea-side bar on a tropical beach.

Jason’s movements, as he entered the stage, were practiced but hurried, which made him seem a tiny bit awkward…could it have been he was nervous? Right away he took off his sneakers and lined them up and shoved them neatly to the side of the table, as if he had just walked in the door to his house–made me giggle a little. He sat down in a small director’s chair, with his feet fidgeting uncomfortably in his thin gray socks, and without looking at the crowd or saying anything, they started playing “Summer it’s Gone”.

Being the second time I’ve seen him play, I feel like I’m beginning to understand his playing style…he doesn’t really acknowledge the crowd much at first, but it never seems like he’s snubbing the audience; more like he’s trying to pretend they’re not there so he doesn’t get anxious? I’m not exactly sure, but it doesn’t come off as rude, more like he’s certain that the people are only there to hear the music, not see the guy playing the instruments.(But Jason, we came to see both!) Usually later he opens up a bit, as he becomes more comfortable, and begins telling little stories here or there.

The songs were stripped down and simplified, with Rusty accompanying him on vocals and percussion with the cymbals or tambourine. The concert, due to the seating arrangement, small audience, red velvety curtain, yellowy lighting and soft, gentle sound was very intimate and felt cozy and warm. The concert had both a similar and a different feeling from the Other Music show in NYC. It was great to hear the songs live. Due to lack of more people playing more instruments, it sounded less spacey than the albums, but was more visceral because of the close proximity I was sitting to the two guys and the instruments.

Next door, at the Paradise Lounge, some other band was covering Ozzy music and we could all hear the pounding of the guitar and screaming vocals coming through the wall. At one point, it was coming through so loud between Grandaddy songs that it made us all laugh, and Jason said something to the effect of it sounding “like a torture chamber over there”. Good stuff.

The set was pretty long, about 15 songs or so, and every minute of it was truly enjoyable. I was kinda sad they didn’t play anything from Under the Western Freeway, but oh well, maybe another time. (At least I got to hear “Go Progress Chrome” at Other Music).

During the show I decided I didn’t like my view of the side of the stage, so I walked up behind the chairs and stood next to the bar for a better view. While there, I took a bunch of pictures, and filmed them playing “Levitz”.

Overall, it was a very chill, very laid-back concert, and after it was all over, I left feeling really relaxed and content. After they left the stage, people clapped for a long time, but they didn’t come back out for an encore. I guess it would have been nice, but I didn’t mind that they didn’t.

I thought about trying to go talk to him afterwards, cause I know he’s good about talking to the fans, but honestly, what could I say but thank you? I never have the right words to say to musicians…especially ones I love.

I was so happy to just jump on the T and be home within 15 minutes; and I relished the fact that I live in a city where awesome musicians come through town, so that I don’t have to drive forever to see them. That’s one thing I’ll miss about Boston when I leave…

Here’s the set list, in no particular order:

summer it’s gone
jed the humanoid
jeeze louise
what can’t be erased
jed’s other poem (beautiful ground)
ghost of 1672
elevate myself
a valley son (sparing)
hewlett’s daughter
go in the go for it
protected from the rain
the crystal lake

Jason Lytle Performs at the Boston Paradise Rock Club

Jason Lytle Performs at the Boston Paradise Rock Club

Jason Lytle Performs at the Boston Paradise Rock Club

Jason Lytle Performs at the Boston Paradise Rock Club

Jason Lytle Performs at the Boston Paradise Rock Club

Here’s another review of the same show, from Synaptic Blur, which I enjoyed. The Kerr jar! Quality. (But what was that falling lady?)

Also, here is the video I took of “Levitz”. I didn’t get the first few seconds of the song, sadly, so it starts a bit abruptly. Jason has an effect on his voice, so you’ll notice it sounds kind of spacey/robot-y here…

Oh, and to read more on my ramblings of Grandaddy, click here,
or here.

Currently listening to my live version of “Levitz”.


Written by pocheco

July 28, 2006 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. great review! you captured it. i saw the shows in la — he did ‘everything beautiful is far away’ — lovely!

    Peter Rubi

    August 17, 2006 at 7:22 pm

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