Live Review: Jose Gonzalez @ Aladdin’s Theatre, Portland

By on Saturday, 6th October 2007 at 8:43 am
 

Going to a gig in a new city is always fun – different crowds, different venue policies. In a different country is even more fun.

Tonight I went to see José González at Aladdin’s theatre, Portland, a former burlesque theatre in a shady part of town. Full of character, the venue was one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in recent years. Clean, tidy, simple and yet still having that air of mystery that all former theatres of ill repute have, it has great acoustics and friendly staff.

Tiny VipersSoon after taking my seat, Tiny Vipers came on. The Seattle rising star slowly worked her way through a reasonable back catalogue, sounding like a poor man’s Trespasser’s William. Backed up by an electric guitar, Jesy Fortino’s strumming becomes easy to get lost in. Many people have tipped her for big things, but whilst she was very good and skilled, I personally found the lack of other instrumentation rather boring.

A short break before the houselights goes down again and José ambles on stage. Warming up, he worked his way through some of the stuff from his new second album, In Our Nature. Slowly building the crowd up, the quiet Swede got a tad flustered when a guy yelled out “I love you José!” to which José replies “I love you too… actually, not really, I’m not into that sort of thing!”. Banter was distinctly thin on the ground, but to be honest this was to be expected: José is the sort of guy who lets his music do the work, his mesmerizingly beautiful songs.

Jose GonzalezSlowly things build, and before we know it we’re at the closing three numbers: The infamous “Heartbeats” – the song that perhaps launched him to the big time, thanks to the Sony Bravia advert featuring the thousands of bouncy balls hurtling through San Francisco. “Crosses” followed, sounding even better live than on record, before finishing off with a duo of stunningly beautiful covers, of Kylie’s “Hand On Your Heart” and Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. Both of these were every bit as good as the original, though remarkably different.

Coming back for an encore, we were treated to another re-working of a modern classic, a formidable cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” that would have had Ian Curtis jumping for joy no doubt at the simplicity yet inherent quality of it.

And with that José quietly leaves the stage, ready to continue his way around the US before jetting over to the UK on 17th October for a full UK Tour. Make sure you catch him – it’s sure to be a good evening.

Photos are after the jump. Enjoy. Sorry they’re a bit rubbish – e weren’t supposed to take pictures so I didn’t experiment much.

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

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