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AoH Reviews: Jason Lytle – 18.2.2013 – Rotown Rotterdam

So tonight was my first concert in ages (since I’d actually managed to be quite busy the past year) and it was for someone who I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time: Jason Lytle!

He’s better known as being the front man of the amazing band Grandaddy. That’s also how I knew him, actually, and also how I found out this concert was going to take place since I saw Grandaddy was touring again and checked it out.
I have to admit I didn’t know anything about his solo work, but after listening to it a bit before I purchased the tickets I noticed it felt just like listening to Grandaddy, only a little less upbeat. His solo songs were pretty great too, and Grandaddy is one of my favorite bands, so since he basically sounded almost identical without the rest of the band I was totally looking forward to tonight.

I guess I have to say that…I was pretty disappointed. The venue was great, really cozy; it was actually a bar that they sometimes clear all the chairs and tables out of to host concerts. I was all the way up in front just inches away from the stage. I’m pretty sure this was the closest I’ve ever been, maybe discounting that one time I was basically glued to the foot of 65Daysofstatic’s guitarist.
It wasn’t the sound, either. The sound was great and pure, the guitars or keyboard never overtaking Lytle’s angelic voice meaning I never even once had to strain to listen to any lyrics.

What was missing, though, was energy. Lytle played as if it was more of a ‘getting it over with’ than a ‘let’s have a great time’. I guess it might have something to do with the small amount of money he was making tonight (tickets were only €14 and the room was half empty and small to begin with) but when you’re dealing with such a small group of fans that’s when most artists really shine, so it was quite disappointing how he never really talked to his audience or even looked at them. A few days before I had heard one of his earlier live recordings and he was joking and playing around so much I was kind of expecting more of that tonight, and he really, really didn’t deliver.
Another problem, in my eyes, was the fact that he played almost all of his songs in the same slowed down rhythm. I love slow songs, mind you, especially ones with interesting flow and lyrics, but to keep hearing the same kind of rhythm all night starts to get a little boring, and it especially proved a disservice to some of his more upbeat songs. As for it getting boring though, we didn’t have to worry much, since the show was extremely short. I suppose he played for maybe one hour? Maaaayyybe one and a half, but definitely not more. When he put his guitar down and left I thought ‘Oh well I guess at least we’ll get an encore’ but nope, it was actually over.

There were big pluses too though, definitely not everything was bad. Most importantly: his voice. You have to hear his voice in real life to understand how magical a voice can be. It was especially astounding how a voice like his could come from a man looking like him. He’s all gruff and kinda old looking and talks like that too, but when he starts singing it’s like there’s a boy of 16 that just got kicked in the nuts. His voice combined with the slow and methodic rhythms he produced swept me off my feet and off to a different world. It was kind of like the almost trance-like state I feel at Post-Rock concerts, only more peaceful.
The other positive thing was that he played some Grandaddy songs, which were awesome as expected. He kept them close to the original rhythm too, so they were fun to sing and dance along with.

t22

When the concert was over, I assumed he’d be coming out to talk with the fans a bit since there were so few of us there, but after waiting half an hour and only seeing the guy from the opening act nicely signing his cd’s for people at the merchandise stand, I decided to give up and pay my €8 parking fee to head on home.

I almost spent more time driving than Jason spent playing
I spent more than half of the ticket price on parking fees
But still I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it

Verdict: 6.5/10

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This entry was posted on 18 February 2013 by in Music, Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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