Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Neck Beard Group Hug: David Bazan

(Today FP announces the opening of its DC branch with the debut of Frontier Capitolist.  Each Wednesday, expect news on emerging artists in the DC/Baltimore area, info on Capital City shows and events, and full coverage of the Gore divorce proceedings.  OK not the last one.)

Do you like sadness? We sure do. Something about art that tickles our heart strings makes us come back for more. Whether it’s finding out that our best friends of 6 years are now “moving on” or a concept album about cancer wards, there is great power in the expression of sadness. Why is that? Perhaps we find common ground in the human tragedy.  Perhaps we are fascinated by the idea of confronting our fears. We here at FP don’t have the answers, and neither does David Bazan. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try. Lucky for us, Bazan invites us on his quest. Lucky for you, Frontier Capitolist witnessed it. Lucky for us all, someone recorded it.

The Frontier Capitolist caught Bazan (formerly the heart and soul of Pedro the Lion) in a stately living room with 39 other fans on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The compulsively honest Bazan pulled up to the house in his own foreign-made sedan, pulled out his guitar, and instantly started playing. Bazan tore through well over a dozen songs from his 15-year catalogue, all by his lonesome, no microphone, just right. The show was a 40-person group hug, and not in the lame way.

Highlights included:

A shattering cover of the late Vic Chesnutt (with whom Bazan was once a member of The Undertow Orchestra

a very early Pedro the Lion single about his relationship with his clergyman father:

and a comically morbid song about a man being run over by the Transcontinental Railroad:

Bazan is a staggeringly open man. His body of work is a lesson in honesty, doubt, faith, hope, rationality and humanity. He is writes freely on divorce (“Options”), spirituality (“In Stiches”) and the challenges of faith (“Secret Of The Easy Yoke").  But, if ignorance is bliss, then Bazan is also a very sad man. Fortunately for the rest of us, he attacks that sadness head-on through his articulate and profound soul-searching anthems. We recommend you do some searching as well. Bazan is currently on tour with mewithoutYou. You can find countless incredible recordings of his living room shows across YouTube. And, once you are convinced, check out his DVD, Alone at the Microphone.

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