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David Bazan
Bottom of the Hill - Jun 21, 2007
review by ira

"Does anyone have any questions?" If you've ever seen David Bazan (Pedro The Lion, Headphones) play live, this is a familiar refrain. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen him perform without hearing him make this particular inquiry to the audience.

And no matter how many times I hear him ask it, it's still incredibly disarming. Because, really, he's asking two questions: (1) do you have a question for me and (2) do you have the balls to ask it in front of an entire crowd of indie hipsters?

So here's my question for you, David, from the guy in the front with a clear lack of balls: is your current solo, acoustic status the result of wanting complete creative control or is it a matter of you truly desiring a singular, pure sound?

Bazan performed the entire set as he did in April of 2006 at the Wall of Sound Festival in Texas - solo acoustic guitar. And, while it was interesting to hear his unplugged interpretation of (normally electronic) Headphones songs, I couldn't help wonder if he's lost something by going completely solo.

I found myself missing T. William Walsh.

Bazan played a few covers, as he always does, including Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". In a welcome contrast to Jeff Buckley's (beautiful) falsetto-laden version, Bazan sang the song with (what appeared to be) an intentionally strained voice - a fallen soul in comparison to Buckley's pure light. The crowd approved.

Whether or not Bazan continues on with or without a backing band, his performances continue to entertain. Certainly, though, there are questions to be asked.