Chad VanGaalen- Crawdaddy Nov 08December 1, 2008
Have been looking forward to Chad VanGaalen for a while and he did not disappoint! Lots of things afoot for me at the moment so only a quick post….
Crawdaddy wasn’t exactly buzzing when I arrived but for a Sunday gig on a bloody freezing night there were a respectful 50 or so there.
An all Canadian night and the first support were Attack In Black– hadn’t heard of them before but they have some good tunes with some good singers and a nice hard edge to most of the tunes. With 3 guitarists and a drummer they can certainly pump it out. One of the guys mentioned about how exhausted they were…and he was so tired that he forgot he said and said it again! In fairness they had taken the ferry over just to be there with Chad so fair play…good story about trying to find Crawdaddy and to be told by a girl at a music shop that the gig was the previous night so they had missed it!
Women then came on and the first impression was damn these guys are loud. I don’t think I am showing my age here but the sound level for the instruments was really overpowering. Not sure of the opening tune but Black Rice was the second and it really is sublime- unfortunately you could barely hear his voice and the singer actually said it to the sound guy at the end of the tune to raise the volume on his and the drummers mic. Think that was too little too late though since there no real harmonies on the rest of the tunes- far harder sound than I had expected and some of them seemed to be a bit of a mess really. When they hit it right they did sound good but there were not many moments when they did.
Chad VanGaalen was then up and even before he opened his voice I was looking forward to the set- when the drummer was setting up he came out with an array of different sticks and he used them all to best effect- really subtle and excellent drumming.
Chad started with Willow Tree which is one of my favs from his last album- such an excellent falsetto voice and combined with the banjo is really just sublime. He picked up one of the dinkiest guitars I have seen and came out with Poisonous Heads which is another great one from the album. There was some hysterical laughing in the crowd by a woman and Chad thought this was directed at his guitar…or the fact that there was a massive dreadlock hanging from the end!
He followed up with Bare Feet On Wet Griptape and another of my favs Molten light. There were then some other tunes from some of his older albums- haven’t listened to his full back catalogue so not completely sure of the names but they are really some great tunes so will have to do that soon. Interspersed in the tunes was a story about them driving in the Irish countryside and listening to U2’s Joshua Tree for the first time as they were not fans- they were getting emotional over it so they want to forget about that experience as quickly as possible.
Some of the other tunes from the latest album were Cries Of The Dead and Rabid Bits Of Time which were pretty good along with some of the older tunes which had a bit more of a rock edge to them. A new tune in there as well with some very good guitar playing by Pat- sounded like he was playing a piano on the guitar and really striking. He ended on a good vibe with a rock number and came out solo for a really good subtle number for an encore.
Overall Chad was just as good I was hoping he would be- such an excellent voice and hopefully he will tour again when he has a new album. The only song I wished he played was TMNT but most of the electro/keyboard tunes didn’t seem to be on the playlist.
A bit rushed now so when I get a chance to hear some of his old tunes and figure out the names I will edit the post with hopefully the full playlist!