Monday December 11th, The Zoo, Brisbane. – When we arrived at The Zoo, we may have expected something more “animal”. Instead, the place was rather quiet. The opening artist (Andrew Tuttle) did not make a lasting impression on us. Sitting on a chair with his guitar and his loop pedal, he seemed to be mostly playing for himself.
But then, Cass McCombs got onto the stage. After only a couple of chords of Opposite House (from Cass McCombs’ latest album Mangy Love), we knew that we were going to remember this evening. Not because The Zoo became wild. In fact, it got even calmer. Everybody was in a sort of quiet fascination towards the man of the night. The perfect ambiance.
The mysterious receipt of Cass McCombs
The first reason for that atmosphere was probably Cass McCombs and his musicians’ wonderful harmonies. The bass part, very elaborated, marked its difference with the guitar played by Cass. The electric piano and the guitar were so well associated, and the drum hits were so muttered (yet essential) that not a single instrument was covering the others. The mix was just perfect.
The second reason, which adds well to the first one, is how specific notes or chords are marked with more intensity, in a more or less regular way. It appears well in Morning Star.
The third one stands probably in the prodigious songwriting, both intensely poetic and putting together delicate sonorities. To demonstrate this, there is no better example than Medusa’s Outhouse (Mfirst verse:
“Help me, help me to remember to forget
To forget what hasn’t happened yet”
“Don’t leave me hanging. Upside down”
A true conductor
The instrumental parts always seemed in a way new to us, with a lot left to improvisation. Cass McCombs was leading the band in the same way as Sufjan Stevens does with his, telling the bassist or the keyboard player to do a solo as if it was not exactly planned. On his side, Cass executed heartfelt and effective guitar solos, when they were not repetitive Deerhunter-like riffs.
Pictures of Cass McCombs concert
- Opposite House
- Bum Bum Bum
- Morning Star
- Medusa’s Outhouse
- Big Wheel
- Robin Egg Blue
- Dreams ComeTrue Girl
- ?? (blues Ali Farka Touré-like)
- ?? (instrumental tune, western ambiance)
- Run Sister Run
- County Line