concert review: josh ritter + scott hutchison @ the music box

so, when i first heard that josh ritter and scott hutchison (of frightened rabbit) were going to tour together, my head sort of exploded because, HELLO, amazing genius and musical goodness like that in one night? i so had to be there.

scott opened with, much to my sadness, a tiny set (it was only around a half hour!). but he made magic with the time allowed with acoustic versions of songs from both the midnight organ fight and the winter of mixed drinks. as i’ve blogged several times before the greatness that is scott hutchison and frightened rabbit live, i’ll simply say here that it was a great set and left me wanting more. much more. is it so wrong to wish he had a full set, too?

here is a duet between him and his brother grant, the drummer for frightened rabbit, singing heads rolls off:

i hadn’t seen josh ritter live before, and after the sold-out show @ la’s music box, i’m looking forward to catching him on his next tour. here’s what you need to know about josh ritter in concert:

1. he’s so freaking adorable. dude smiled and pogo-sticked it all night. where does he get his energy? and how refreshing is it to get a guy genuinely happy to be up there, rather than do one of those “i’m a musican, a SERIOUS musican, so you get no smiles tonight! musicians don’t smile!” bits? the answer is VERY.

2. the guy brings it. there’s no dialing in any songs. so do do the rest of the guys in the royal city band.

some highlights from the show (out of order from the setlist):

* good man and lilian, egypt, two fan favorites, were utterly infectious. everyone singing along, josh and his band amped up, i’m suprised the entire building didn’t shake from everyone stomping, clapping, and dancing. yes, dancing. in la! it was like aliens had taken over the joint, hipsters be damned.

* the brilliance that is the thin blue flame was done completely in the dark and without a microphone. just josh and his guitar, and every single person standing still in awe, it was amazingly powerful.

* during kathleen, josh orchestrated “the largest slow dance in the country – well, at least california.” he instructed the ladies to take it easy on the guys around them, dudes to dance, and everyone to frankenstein it by putting their arms out and find someone to sway with. the entire building was giggling and acting like it was a high school dance.

* during harrisburg, he told a story of having to battle chewbaccas in hollywood, of how only in la are there dueling juice joints, and of how traffic can kill a soul. then he transitioned into a kickass bridge of talking heads’ once in a lifetime before continuing the song at full blast. awesome.

* the final song in the encore was a super-sped up version of to the dogs or whoever. hyper and wild, it only sent everyone back into a frenzy.

* speaking of the encore, scott hutchison came out and the two sang stories we could tell, a cover of the everly brothers’ hit. totes adorbs! check it out below:

* and here’s josh doing the beautiful change of time. gahhh…amazing:

josh has a bunch of free mp3s on his site. go HERE to snag them. then go HERE to buy so runs the world away, his newest album, and HERE for the to the yet unknowing world EP that was just released. then go HERE to buy the winter of mixed drinks, frightened rabbit’s newest album. after all that, put your headphones on and kick back to some awesome tunes and feel jealous that you might not have gotten to see them this last time around. or, if you did, relive some of that greatness. cheers!

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