Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ellis Paul at Thousand Oaks Library 4-18-14 Concert Review

Ellis Paul performs "Hurricane Angel"

Seeing Ellis Paul in concert always makes seriously happy. He’s such a great songwriter, but also a wonderful storyteller and performer. And he was definitely in storyteller mode at the Thousand Oaks Library, in Thousand Oaks, California. From a look at the set list, it might seem like a short show, but it wasn’t. He told several stories throughout the performance, including the reason for the tape over a large section of his guitar (after it was cracked by some criminal handling by the airline).

He opened the show with the title track from his upcoming CD release, Chasing Beauty. He followed it with “Rose Tattoo,” from The Day After Everything Changed. After playing the always-appreciated “Maria’s Beautiful Mess” (I could listen to that song all day), he talked about how his rental car had all sorts of gadgetry yet no CD player. That led to a bit on the changing record industry, and how we’re losing physical touch with the albums due to downloads and so on, and while he talked he put a record on the small turntable he’d brought (The Beatles' “White Album”).  Of course, that got me even more excited for Record Store Day. And guess what? He’s going to be pressing his upcoming album on vinyl, as well as having a CD release. Very cool.  I definitely have to get a copy of that on vinyl, and I definitely have to get my turntable fixed (or replaced).

I’m always happy to hear new material from Ellis Paul, and at this show he played a couple of newer ones to finish off the first set – “Hold Me, Scold Me” and “I Never Want To Lose You.” Both are really good, but I particularly love “I Never Want To Lose You,” partly because of the line “one-man clown car.” What a great image. His guitar accidentally came unplugged during that song, so he finished it unmiked, stepping off the stage down to the audience.

The second set began with an improvised tune with Ellis at the piano. Called “Danielle’s Song,” it was sung for a woman who is having Ellis play at her birthday party this summer. "Oh Danielle, Danielle/You're probably wondering what the hell/I'm here to sing a song, to say/I am playing your birthday party, somewhere in New Hampshire."  He followed that with the wonderful “Jukebox On My Grave,” another that I am always happy to hear. “Alice’s Champagne Palace” is another fan-favorite. But I was especially happy to hear Ellis play Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game.” I love that song, though it always makes me a little sad. Ellis introduced it by saying, "It's like the best song ever written about growing up." I agree. An audience member requested “3,000 Miles,” and Ellis finished the second set with that song, playing it unmiked and in front of the stage.

The encore was a sweet rendition of “If I Had A Hammer,” done on piano. And he told a couple of Pete Seeger anecdotes.

Ellis Paul 4-18-14 Set List

Set I
  1. Chasing Beauty
  2. Rose Tattoo
  3. Maria’s Beautiful Mess
  4. Kick Out The Lights
  5. Hurricane Angel
  6. Hold Me, Scold Me
  7. I Never Want To Lose You 

Set II
  1. Danielle’s Song
  2. Jukebox On My Grave
  3. Alice’s Champagne Palace
  4. The Circle Game
  5. 3,000 Miles 
  1. If I Had A Hammer

The next stop on Ellis Paul's tour is Santa Barbara on April 19th.

Ellis Paul performing "I Never Want To Lose You"
During the set break, The White Album plays
Ellis Paul performing "Alice's Champagne Palace"

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