Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Richard Thompson and Loudon Wainwright, Tuesday 10/6 at the Calvin.

When I first heard about the “Loud & Rich” tour a few months back my initial reaction was finally a double bill that’s aesthetically pitch-perfect…because whether you’re a Thompson or a Wainwright fan they’re gonna levitate the place! My second thought was that it’s nearly impossible to write anything less than a novel about the significance of either of them that comes close to telling the whole story. Loudon Wainwright & Richard Thompson have long been US/UK brethren, penning tales with honesty, humor & wit. It’s worth noting that the few Wainwright recordings nominated for Grammy awards were I’m Alright (1985) & More Love Songs (1986) – both of which Thompson produced & performed on. Richard also toured with Loudon during the ‘90s and in 2003 Thompson contributed to Loud’s album “So Damn Happy.”

This tour has been a long time coming & a stop in Northampton, a community that has embraced them both for decades, was inevitable. Does anyone else recall Richard’s legendary early show/late show performances – veritable residencies often running 2 or 3 nights straight, at the Iron Horse back in the 80’s? Unreal. Great times & jaw dropping shows, every one.

Loudon Wainwright's adept and humorous songwriting and stage banter have been beloved by his loyal fans, an audience he calls 'small but well formed," since the 70s, with its Dead Skunks and M*A*S*H musical walkabouts. His distaste for most things PC may have secured his obscure position relative to the radar. From early classics like “Rufus is a Tit Man” (yes, that Rufus, and no, not a tit-man after all) to “I Wish I Was a Lesbian,” Wainwright has written whatever the hell he feels like writing with such gutter bravado that it’s impossible not to laugh regardless of your politics and hang-ups.

Richard Thompson is one the finest guitar players alive. From his early years with Fairport Convention he has consistently challenged himself as a guitarist. On acoustic classics like “Genesis Hall” or bone-chilling electric litanies like “Shoot Out The Lights” Thompson delivers with a wry humor & humility not often found in other virtuoso guitarists whose substance usually goes no further than technical prowess. Richard is a songwriter and storyteller, and the guitar is his nicotine delivery system.

On Tuesday Loud & Rich will performing both alone & together. I cannot think of a better way to combat the existential got no public option teabaggers on my lawn overdraft fee new boss same as the old boss blues than an evening with two of the most gifted entertainers on the planet.

Dan Kandel/Jim Neill

Get your seats here.

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