Archive for the ‘patrick watson’ Category

Patrick Watson – Wooden Arms

November 10, 2009
Patrick Watson - Wooden Arms

Written By: Lindsey Hecht

Label: Secret City – Rating:

Though the name Patrick Watson might sound like a one-man show, think bigger; more extravagant. This four-man band is comprised of Robbie Kuster on drums, Mishka Stein on bass, Simon Angell on guitar, and frontman Patrick Watson who lends his vocals while also playing piano and harmonium. Experimenting with sounds, Patrick Watson guides the listener through ‘Wooden Arms’ with a sequence of strings, effects, and acoustic landscapes.

Their newest album opens with ‘Fireweed,’ leaving little to no words and letting a string of noise reverberate in my ears. Though the first track depends heavily on sound cascading from speakers, the few words sung are not lost, as they are powerful and with a message. Watson croons, ‘So we dug us a hole / And planted our skin / Like a seed in the ground /To grow again’ and fast as this song ends, I wanted another to begin.

The transition from ‘Fireweed’ to the second song on the album is barely discernible, and I’m once again spinning in a fantasy as I listen to ‘Tracy’s Waters.’ During this song I find myself more focused on the music and less on the words, as they trail behind like a streaming sidekick companion. ‘Beijing’ follows and is by far the most experimental track on the album. I’ve pressed my ear to the speakers countless times, with closed eyes, wondering what objects are being manipulated to make the hullaballoo I’m hearing. Pounding on chests, legs? Drum sticks on glass cups? Bicycle wheels spinning as the track rounds out? Your guess is as good as mine, but it draws me in – and I’m wanting more.

Next up is the title track ‘Wooden Arms,’ which reminds me of the cobblestone streets and boat rides of Italy’s Venice. The rhythm of his voice is especially unique in the way it draws its listeners in, and his ability to capture a French mystique seems only natural as Watson himself composed the entire soundtrack for the French-Canadian film, ‘C’est pas moi, je le jure!’

Though the band emphasizes the word ‘experimentation’ with their inimitable style, their versatility is remarkably evident in “Hommage,’ which accentuates strings and angelic orchestral tunes. This song, specifically, forces me to visualize the closing scene to a grand play in a theatre. Without any lyrics at all, and even as the shortest track on the entire album, this grandiose theatrical moment of suspense buries me in its beauty. As a band, their ability to provoke thought with their echoes and strings is remarkable; the fact that they achieve the same effect with playful, staccato songs such as ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is even more impressive.

Like Patrick Watson? Check out: Rufus Wainwright, Animal Collective, Radiohead

Patrick Watson @ Largo L.A.

October 20, 2009

Written By: Jim Markunas

Photos by: Sarah Yeo

View all of the Patrick Watson Live Photos here.

Patrick Watson was quite the treat! I walked into the concert not knowing anything about the artist and his band, but I left a complete believer. Patrick Watson is a combination of John Mayer, Coldplay and Radiohead (From the “Kid A”-era before they got boring and drippy). Not only are each and every one of the musicians in the band, Patrick included, multi-instrumentalists and exceptionally talented, they also put on a hell of a show. They brought in James Brown’s old sound guy, and had a light show that could go toe-to-toe with any of Coldplay’s arena theatrics.

Patrick is by no means lazy – In addition to having a sultry Mayer-esq voice, strong enough to be heard without a microphone, he understands the value of showmanship. He made quips and jokes to the audience, and made us all feel as if we were part of the show. At one point, Patrick jumped off stage and sang to the audience, from the audience, without the aid of a mic.

Even more unbelievable was Patrick’s band. The drummer was the embodiment of percussion, as every move was executed as if he and his drums were somehow cosmically connected. He also backed up Patrick’s beautifully orchestrated piano playing with tonal chimes (while at the same time playing the drums), creating a sonically-beautiful and unique atmospheric effect. The bass and guitar managed to seamlessly blend with the music, yet stand out at the same time; this is hard to pull off well, and is a rare quality that can’t be over-looked.

The song that stood out the most to me was “I Like You,” the band’s lover’s ballad. This song has major cross-over potential, and gave me the urge to make out with a hot chick… and I would have too, if the sound booth hadn’t been such a sausage fest!!!!

Patrick Watson and Co. are extremely popular in Europe, and are starting to make a major push in the US. My only concern is that Patrick’s music may be too sophisticated for mainstream American audiences, as it lacks the standard pop structure (verse, chorus, verse, solo, chorus, etc.) However, Muse was misunderstood by American audiences on their first US release, but eventually ended up as a household name. I whole-heartedly believe that Patrick Watson may be the next Coldplay or Radiohead if given the right opportunities and hooked up with the right producers.

Patrick’s performance was so unbelievable, my review can’t possibly do it justice. If you have the chance, check out Patrick and his band in San Francisco on October 20th or New York on October 22nd. These are the only US dates remaining on his tour.

View drummer Robbie Kuster playing the saw.

Threes and Nines opened, and were also a stellar act – kind of like The Violent Femmes with happier lyrics – gritty/pretty music that could easily find a home in and David Lynch film or Las Vegas drinking binge.