Live Review: Tired Pony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013

By on Thursday, 3rd October 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Photos by Julia Gray

Have you ever had that perfect storm kind of gig? You know the kind where the performance is exclusive, you’ve been personally asked to attend, friends from all over the country meet up there, and you hang with the former members of R.E.M. afterwards? No? Oh, sorry, then you better stop reading now.

Indie supergroup Tired Pony gave their one and only concert on the east coast last week in New York City (they did one in London and will do two in LA and that’s it!) It was a benefit gig at the Housing Works Bookstore and proceeds went to support the organization’s mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through advocacy and services. Additionally, it was the launch of Heaneyville, lead singer Gary Lightbody’s (Snow Patrol) new label. Named in honor of the recently departed Irish national treasure Seamus Heaney, it will release the band’s new album ‘Ghost of the Mountain’ in America. (Read Carrie’s review of the new album here.) It had been billed as an acoustic set with only about half of the members in attendance, but it turned out to be much more than that.

Tired Pony New York City 2013 1

Crammed on to the tiny back-of-the-room stage were eight – count ‘em EIGHT – players. All that was missing was Irish singer-songwriter Iain Archer who was ably replaced by Mike Mills (ex-R.E.M.) on Archer’s signature song. Not a bad substitute if there had to be one. Not so much a small acoustic set anymore, the band opened with the lead track from their new album ‘I Don’t Want You as a Ghost’. Quipping that they only had two albums to draw from Lightbody and Peter Buck (ex-R.E.M.) tore through a perfectly sequenced set that had the two floors of the bookstore buzzing.

Tired Pony New York City 2013 3

Songs like ‘Northwestern Skies’ and ‘I’m Begging You Not To Go’ had such a rich and complex rise and fall that I could barely take it all in. And has anyone noticed that Peter Buck is a truly spectacular guitar player? No? Well, I’m glad I got to clear that up. Stood directly in front of him, I was completely mesmerised by his playing. The guy isn’t flashy or animated, but the punctuated style he plays with is so eminently identifiable. Uber-producer Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (Snow Patrol, R.E.M., U2) was also there just killing it on guitar.

With as little an opportunity they get to rehearse, the band were remarkably tight. That’s what you get, though, with the caliber of people you have in this band. Rounding out the ensemble were drummer Richard Colburn (Belle and Sebastian), two keyboard players Scott McCaughey (ex-R.E.M.) and Troy Stewart (The Windsor Player), and locals bassist Richard Hammond and singer Rosi Golan. ‘Wreckage and Bone’ was a highlight of the show; identified as Lightbody’s favourite on the album, it was more complicated, almost syncopated, than the recorded version. ‘Blood’ also stood out with its driving opening and five guitars. It gave the chance for both Buck and Lee to shine with parts much more elaborately arranged than on the album.

Both Tired Pony albums are readily categorized as country-tinged Americana, but little of that comes through in the live performance. They have taken a truly outstanding set of music and transformed it into an exquisite live experience. Now if only they could tour this show!

Tired Pony New York City 2013 2

After the cut: the set list.

Set List:
I Don’t Want You as a Ghost
Northwestern Skies
I’m Begging You Not to Go
Get On the Road
Blood
Dead American Writers
Creak in the Floorboards
Point Me at Lost Islands
Wreckage and Bone
All Things All at Once
That Silver Necklace
The Good Book
Your Way is the Way Home
The Ghost of the Mountain

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9 Responses

2:02 pm
3rd October 2013

New post: Live Review: Tired Pony @tiredpony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013: http://t.co/eDwMUZCEwT

2:15 pm
3rd October 2013

Tired Pony @TiredPony (and friends!) played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week and Cheryl reports on the gig http://t.co/eDwMUZCEwT

8:24 pm
3rd October 2013

RT @tgtf: New post: Live Review: Tired Pony @tiredpony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013: http://t.co/eDwMUZC…

10:55 pm
3rd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Tired Pony @TiredPony (and friends!) played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week and Cheryl reports on the gig http://t.co…

12:04 am
4th October 2013

RT @tgtf: Tired Pony @TiredPony (and friends!) played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week and Cheryl reports on the gig http://t.co…

12:15 am
4th October 2013

RT @tgtf: Tired Pony @TiredPony (and friends!) played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week and Cheryl reports on the gig http://t.co…

12:58 am
4th October 2013

RT @tgtf: Tired Pony @TiredPony (and friends!) played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week and Cheryl reports on the gig http://t.co…

1:10 am
4th October 2013

@WindsorPlayer Thanks! MT @tgtf: @TiredPony played a charity gig at @HousingWorksBks last week & Cheryl reports on it http://t.co/MrvwW36mHB

3:04 am
4th October 2013

Live Review: Tired Pony at Housing Works Bookstore, New York City – 25th September 2013 http://t.co/o2x87y9tMI via @tgtf I WAS AT THIS SHOW!

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