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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eleanor Friedberger, Singing Time in Barcelona!

Eleanor Friedberger (+ Bill Ryder-Jones and Big Summer). La [2] de Apolo, Barcelona, October 2nd
Acoustic lady. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

The night started (well, afternoon, still have to completely adjust back to our "unique" Spanish schedule) with a gentle and unexpected surprise: Eleanor doing an acoustic gig for barely a dozen of lucky guests at the Apolo Store (nice people working there by the way, thanks). It was a quick one, five tunes, and not impressive compared with the mind-blowing full-band concert that came later, but it showed the backbones of her solid tunes and how that peculiar warmth, intimacy of her music comes from. Plus it offered me the chance of taking a picture with her and chat briefly!

Big "tunes" Summer. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Afterwards and inside the venue, Big Summer was the bill's first act. I already wrote about them but I'm glad to confirm what I said before: El Genio Equivocado have added an incredible "prospect" to their immaculate roster. On Wednesday, they put a short but intense set with an exciting new single (beloved label chiefs told me release is imminent) and the favourite "Morning Sun" as the pivotal points. I insist, keep their name on your agendas.

Bill Ryder-Jones. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
On the contrary, Bill Ryder-Jones was quite a disappointment. Formerly a member of The Coral, and billed as a "lush and atmospheric singer-songwriter" similar to Alex Turner solo, his set, probably too long (twelve tunes) suffered from a clear sense of repetition and, at least live (I love the studio version of "Wild Swans"), lacked the emotional impact or feeling of closeness the memorable "Submarine" OST has, making the folkie and narrative eloquence of Ryder-Jones a bit tiring to be honest.

Electric lady. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
And then, the time for Eleanor Friedberger finally arrived. And what a time! For the very first second, her performance was just unstoppable. Firepowered, addictive rockier versions of "I Don't Want to Bother You", "I Won't Fall Appart On You Tonight", "Heaven" and "Stare at the Sun" (what a delicious tune) to start the gig knocking out everyone on the audience without losing a tiny bit of the pop charms (and excellent lyrics) her tunes have. Probably the best sounding I have ever enjoyed at La [2] de Apolo, the night was fated for greatness.  

Friedberger & Brewis.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
"My Own World", "Rooselvet Island", "I'll Never Be Happy Again", "Tomorrow Tomorrow"... every song was pumped out, propelled by a fantastic band where Field Music's David Brewis was outstanding, he completely blew my mind with his guitar performance all gig (have to find out who was the equally amazing drummer). And when the tune needed more intimacy, like the irresistible "Other Boys", the focus gently shifted on Eleanor's vocals, delivered with a disarming and punchy conviction all night. Friedberger wasn't very talkative with the audience, but it was obvious to see she was comfortable and pleased with her performance and the response of the (surprisingly quiet and eager to just enjoy the gig, please keep it this way folks, life will be much better) audience.

Eleanor. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
"Early Earthquake", personal favourite "When I Knew" and "She's a Mirror" put a momentary end to the concert before the encore, for which Eleanor reserved some of her most breathtaking compositions. "Echo or Encore" played by just her on guitar, was followed by another must of her short but excellent solo career to date, "Singing Time", to conclude with "My Mistakes", with Eleanor putting on her jacket and leaving the venue before the band kicked out the final solo in a shocking, even defying gesture, as she reached the exit crossing throught the audcience. One that serves to point out she's not your average singer-songwriter. At all. And, of course, I mean that in a good, very very good way. Extraordinary concert.

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