Live Review: Vetiver at Bell House, Brooklyn, USA 7th May 2009

By on Tuesday, 12th May 2009 at 11:45 pm

Vetiver (live side)Coming relatively hot on the heels of 2008’s covers collection “Thing of the Past”, Vetiver‘s new record “Tight Fit” doesn’t represent any significant stylistic changes, but rather continues to chug along pleasingly in the same direction. This aesthetic also translates to the band’s live show which is a relaxed yet competent affair that accentuates the JJ Cale shuffle of many of the songs, whilst avoiding the the temptation to jam out too much. There is an elongated passage here and there, where guitarist Kevin Barker gets to display his great touch and tone, but excess is usually curbed in favour of a disciplined tightness. Singer and mainstay Andy Cabic has a relaxed and engaging way with an audience, unsurprising given that the music has a similar charm. Vetiver are well suited to this venue, which feels like some kind of mid-western barn ready to hold a hoe-down rather than an old warehouse in a very industrial part of Brooklyn.

The sound is clear, with every instrument and voice occupying its own territory, though I’m sure this also has to do with the way the band play. No-one steps on anyone’s toes, everything is very considered, and nothing seems out of place. This does sometimes work against them though, especially on less memorable tunes, where it starts to get a little ploddy. There’s also not a huge amount of emotional impact which is a shame as the band obviously have the skills to pull off a great show, but I felt like this was a head-nodder rather than a heart-wrencher of an evening.

But maybe that’s the point, an easier emotional ride rather than layering on piles and piles of angst in the hope that the audience feel some deep connection. Sometimes its better to have a nice mellow ride of an evening and thinking about it, it’s actually fairly rare to see someone pull that off without resorting to any major histrionics.

After the jump: photos

Vetiver Live 550

Vetiver (live 2)

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