On Saturday I saw Jose Gonzalez at, appropriately, the Swedish American Hall.
This was my first trip to the Swedish American Hall, though it’s right above another venue that I’ve been to many times, the Cafe du Nord. It’s an interesting venue, to be sure. Imagine a Swedish Elks Lodge hall and that’s about what you’d have. Lots of tudor-like exposed beams and whatnot. It was a seated show, which was nice and appropriate to the music. The acoustics were pretty good, but it’s very reflective, especially of audience noise. Luckily the audience was pretty quiet and respectful, but all the applause sounded thunderous, even when it didn’t seem like people were clapping particularly loud or hard.
The opening band was the the Finches Have you seen the Jerk? Remember the scene on the beach where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters sing “You Belong to Me”? The Finches are sort of like this. Simple and, in a way, old sounding songs with sweet lead female vocals and male harmonies. It’s just guitars and vocals. I picked up their EP for $5.
the Finches – Daniel’s Song
I talked to the guys from Cafe du Nord, who book the Swedish American Hall shows, a couple months back about this show and they were a bit worried that Jose wouldn’t fill this room. Well it ended up selling out a week or so before the show and by the end of the Finches set, it was standing room only.
I like Jose a lot. He’s sort of like the Swedish-Argentinean version of Iron & Wine. He doesn’t have a whole lot in his catalog yet, an album and a CD singles/ EPs, so maybe 15-20 songs, and they’re all about 3 minutes long. He ran through his main set not talking a lot and playing his songs without much of a break. He came back for an encore and did another 3 songs. All of this lasted about 50 minutes. I was pretty tired, so this worked out pretty well.
It was a good show, but not in the sense of Jose bringing a lot more to the live show than he brings to his recordings. He played his songs well and said a few short, funny things between songs, but that was pretty much that.
Jose Gonzalez – Crosses