Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gary Louris & Mark Olson, Toronto

Review: Gary Louris & Mark Olson, February 4, The Mod Club, Toronto

When I go to a live show I usually bring up the average audience age. At the Mod Club last Wednesday, the exact opposite happened. Gary Louris (age 53) and Mark Olson (age 47) brought out an eclectic and well-worn crowd on the coldest night of 2009, and did not disappoint (-26C/-15F for those Minnesotans who happen to be reading). The Mod Club is an unusual place for an acoustic pseudo Jayhawks reunion, as it is a dance club on weekends. In fact, the last show I saw there was Sparklehorse in early 2007. For this show the dance floor was covered with about 100 folding chairs, and you had to be there at 8:00 when the doors opened to get one. I was loitering at a pub across the street, so I ended up standing in back. In the back I spotted a few members of The Sadies, who's most recent album was produced by Louris, as well as members of the Skydiggers.

Olson and Louris gave a great acoustic show, featuring many songs off of their new release Ready for the Flood. They also played many Jayhawks classics, much to the delight of the audience. Their trademark vocal harmonies where beautiful to listen to, and damn these boys can sing. But during the entire show, I felt like a little something was missing. By the end I realized that, as much as the acoustic show was wonderful to listen to, I really wanted to hear Olson and Louris play with a full band. Maybe this is part of me wanting to hear the Jayhawks play again, hearkening back to my days in Wisconsin where I actually heard Jayhawks music on the radio (remember the good old days when radio didn't suck?). But, according to a 2008 Onion A.V. Club interview with Louris, producer Rick Rubin still owns the Jayhawks name. Hopefully Rubin will release these guys from any subsequent contractual obligations and let them make music together again (after all, isn't Rubin busy ruining Columbia records?).

About halfway through the show Olson commented that they had to leave Toronto by 3:00 a.m., and he would "see you at the Tim Horton's." Turns out they had a date with David Letterman the next day. Letterman tapes his show in midtown Manhattan in the late afternoon/early evening, for airing that night. Louris and Olson really nailed their performance. Check it out:

Mark Olson & Gary Louris
- Turn Your Pretty Name Around.mp3
Buy: Ready For The Flood (2009)

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