Saturday night Jenn and I braved the subarctic temperatures and near-total Midtown gridlock (Circus, Cheerleading competition, hair-stylist convention) to see Guster at the Tabernacle.
I love the Tabernacle. Sparse and poorly insulated, but also warm and homey, like the former church that it is. Non-smoking but amply festooned with bars. In short, perfect for old farts (now that we’re both 30) like us.
We were there to see Guster [MySpace] perform for the second time at the Tabernacle and the third or fourth time overall. We first saw them open for Barenaked Ladies at Philips Arena around the time Maroon was hitting for BNL and Lost and Gone Forever was getting steady play for Guster. Soon after the show we bought all 3 Guster CDs and have been fans ever since. Happier is one of our faves, btw.
Saturday’s performance started around 9 PM after a spotty and Dylan-esque set by Mason Jennings. Eh.
The band were in rare form, talking to the crowd at every opportunity, changing instruments seemingly every song (or mid-song in some cases) and generally entertaining the hell out of everyone within earshot. The set was heavy on their current album, Ganging Up on the Sun, but included a fair amount from Lost and Gone Forever and Keep it Together. Noticeably absent: Fa Fa.
We were treated, however, to some of the finest musicianship and pop music (in the best sense) we’ve heard in ages. Guster are like all those other tragically hip bands you have on your iPod (The Shins, The Decembrists, Modest Mouse, Keane, etc.) with a happier sheen and a knowing wink. They’re sensitive guys who aren’t afraid of power chords. We like that.
Other things to love about last night: their new song The Captain, the fact that the show sold out (first time ever for a Guster show at The Tabernacle) and the trumpet (twice).
Buy their music. See their live show. Smile.