Damien Jurado took the stage at Columbia City Theater last night and, with the help of his backing band, played a stunning show for an overflow crowd that included members of Hey Marseilles, the Head and the Heart, Fences, Ivan & Alyosha and probably a dozen other bands who have been influenced by Jurado, and have helped lift the songwriter to near-icon status in the Seattle music scene.
The fact that he had not played a show, or practiced, with his band since their summer tour did not seem to detract from the stark and moving ballads, most of which were pulled from Jurado's latest Saint Bartlett. The lack of preparation, though, did result in some long pauses between songs as the band and Jurado tried to remember in what key various songs were played. This just gave Jurado more time to regale his hungry audience with his trademark banter.
Here are the few I managed to scribble in my notebook:
"This is my career. You know, I travel around the country and play music for a living. So, I never get nervous at my shows, except, except when I play Seattle. When I play Seattle, for some reason, it freaks me the fuck out. So, yeah, I'm nervous. It's like playing for your family for the first time. Or like the first kiss.... Is my lip going to get caught on her braces?" - In response to the jam-packed audience
"When I'm at home, I'm not a musician; I am dad, husband and Netflix watcher." - An aside during an exploration of how his son has changed his life
"I really do think that this is the greatest music scene in the world right now. So, music writers, if you're out there, please, just lay off these bands. Don't hate someone for getting popular." - The final line of his second pro-Seattle speech of the night, which ignited approving applause from the audience, including Jon Russell of the Head and the Heart
"I've seen twenty million cocks, but I've only seen the Eiffel Tower twice." - The cap to a rant about green-room graffiti in European clubs
Jurado closed out the show solo with his greatest performance of the night, a scorching version of the "Ghost of David" that made the sweaty, packed theater feel like a desert.
Check out this previous performance of that song and then imagine it being twenty times more intense: