The Song Show: David Bazan and the Awkward Moment

David Bazan is coming. The Song Show. July 28. Triple Door. Doors open at 6pm. $20.

When I started the Song Show way back in 2008, I did so with the modest goal of getting the most talented and thoughtful artists on stage to deliver powerful performances and earnest answers to what are often uncomfortably personal questions about their life and their art … all in the name of entertainment.

Before we had even booked our first act for the acoustic interview-and-performance series, though, I had to imagine what the show could be. When I closed my eyes, the artist who sat before me was David Bazan (above). In my mind I would ask him all about the incredibly powerful music he made in the band Pedro the Lion, hoping to divine the source of the songs that made up the soundtrack of my twenties. He always smiled in my mind’s eye, laughed and answered each question with an assuredness equaled only by that with which I asked.

Now, on the eve of Wednesday night’s special Bumbershoot edition of the Song Show at the Triple Door, where David Bazan will take the stage – along with political hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction and lead singer of Portland folk troupe Loch Lomond – I have the rare and somewhat horrifying experience of seeing a fantasy come to life.

Read more after the jump.

In the year-and-a-half since the first show, we have welcomed many brilliant musicians to the stage and had some truly transcendent moments, those times when the audience and the artist all discovered something together; be it the beauty of a song stripped to its barest components (John Van Deusen performing “We Sing In Time”!) or the power of a story never before told (Fatal Lucciauno telling about the first time he held a gun).

Of course, we have also generated a few awkward, even boring moments on stage; something which Eric Grandy at The Stranger will tell you is the show’s downfall. I would answer that, without risking the uncomfortable, we would never achieve the ineffable. It’s the price you pay for asking difficult questions (while people are dining on chicken skewers).

Which brings us back to David Bazan.

For ten years the musician made music under the name Pedro the Lion before breaking away and recording his first self-titled album, last year’s amazing exploration of faith and folly, Curse Your Branches. For all those years, Bazan has encouraged his audiences to ask him questions between songs and he answers the best he can. Having built a large fan base in the Christian youth movement early on, Bazan often faces questions about his faith; his favorite psalms, his choice to break from the faith of his father — the possibility that he will go back.

He is also asked about his children, his favorite beers and his music.

He has likely been asked more questions than any other artist his age. And he has shown that he can stomach his fare share of awkward moments. It is most likely why he is the artist I imagined when first dreaming up the Song Show. It’s also the reason I am somewhat terrified to interview him on Wednesday. What can I possibly ask the man who has answered the most intimate questions in front of countless fans?

I put this question to my Facebook friends.

“Ask him about touring with a family at home,” answered Hey Marseilles drummer Colin Richey. “How he maintains a strong relationship while being gone all the time. I don't know how people do it. ;)”

Now I put it to you. What do you want to know about David Bazan, or the evening’s other acts, THEESatisfaction and Loch Lomond’s Ritchie Young for that matter?

Anything. Really.

And if it elicits an awkward silence, that’s okay. For truth is always preceded by a moment of discomfort. Fortunately, at the Song Show, it is also followed by a stunning performance.



Gear up for Wednesday's performance by watching video from past Song Shows in our online video archives.