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Friday, August 21, 2009

Langhorne Slim at TT the Bears

On Further Review / Photographic Evidence
by Ryan Spaulding and Emma Dessau

TT the Bears in Cambridge - 8/3/2009


Images in this Collection by Emma Dessau

Langhorne Slim is definitely one of the most charismatic artists on tour in 2009. Having seen him now a handful of times (each magic and full of tumbling energy), all I can say is this is a show your music-loving ears cannot afford to miss. Most notable of these shows I have partaken in were the stellar, legendary night a year ago at Cambridge's TT the Bears in which Langhorne Slim was paired with Heartless Bastards and Those Darlins. That set edges Langhorne's Newport Folk Festival set from this year (he opened the Water Stage at Newport, RI's Fort Adams this year.) We didn't catch the whole thing - but what we did see was vintage Langhorne.


"Oh my god," someone outside the tent at Newport that day said, turning to me ... from within, The War Eagles were picking up the pace with "Restless" and the Crowd responded by bouncing along. "Who is this guy? He's really, really good." I responded only; "That's Langhorne. And yeah, he is."


Langhorne appeared in town the Monday following the Newport Festival. Often hiding in the shadow of his trademark hat, Langhorne was just beaming - smiling widely. He stood with a small group outside TT the Bears in Cambridge early on, greeting folks as they entered. This bit of goodwill wasn't part of the show - I think all those smiling souls who attended this stirring, Monday night would agree to that... - but it could as just as well have been.

When it was time to take the stage, Langhorne fired off a quick hello and immediately fixated on his guitar. His backing band, The War Eagles, enthusiastically fill in the rolling hillside behind him - as if he were walking a country road on a sunny day. This is one of the more common backdrops for Langhorne's stories. Suddenly I came to the realization that the club had gone from near empty to half-full. Lyrics were being cast out by the audience - - this was a large, dedicated Langhorne Slim crowd and it was going to be a special night!


ONE TO REMEMBER - From the moment Langhorne and the band launched in "Hello Sunshine," the crowd was a major factor in this performance. (Unlike many shows in which there is a cold, atmospheric distance between the performers and the audience - there was none tonight. In fact, the ever amiable Langhorne chats up the crowd throughout and smiles widely at the sight of so many folks synced up to his music.

The high point of the show for me was a raucous version of Langhorne's "She's Gone," which played a lot like it was intended. It's an emotive, explosive track - the storyteller has lost again. The music was rambling, raw and at that moment, just so perfect.

There wasn't a soul within those four walls that wasn't leaning towards the stage. "Boston, Boston!" Langhorne looked at his bandmates. And with a happy shrug and a wide smile, he finished his thought; "Why aren't you at all the shows?"


Langhorne Slim & The War Eagles
Myspace / Web / Kemado Records

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