Thursday, June 14, 2007

Son Volt @ Ginter Garden

I am a bit of a johnny-come-lately to Son Volt. After Uncle Tupelo broke up, both Wilco and Son Volt stayed on the periphery of my music. It took seven years for my Wilco interest to pick up and another six years for Son Volt to really hit my radar. The album Okemah brought them onto the radar and regular play on Radio Paradise fully brought them into my CD collection.

That said, I have only seen the various incarnations of what started years ago once-apiece. Tupelo touring with Michelle Shocked and Taj Mahal in 1992. Wilco last year. And tonight, Son Volt.

The show started off on low notes with a couple of tracks from the most recent album. The sound was muddy and awful. Farrar's vocals and all of the instruments were at the same level and lost in the outdoor venue. By the third song, however, the sound man had begun to clear things up.

They played a very clean set, mixing things up from the last two albums for the first half, and then bringing a good selection from the early albums. The band is tight, so tight that there was often little to distinguish the live performance from the recorded tracks. Farrar's reputation for staying aloof from the audience held true, and there was very little banter between songs. While this can make for a tight set, it can also take away from the live experience.

Basically, it was a good show, but except for one killer set of riffs during the encore, nothing really made it great.