treated their fans to an embarrassment of folky pop riches at Webster Hall, tearing through a bulging twenty-one song set in just over an hour and a half. The list was made up almost exclusively of tunes from their 2008 near-masterpiece, Furr
, and their fine new album Destroyer Of The Void
. Excellent versions of both title tracks were crowd favorites. Other highlights included a lush and gentle interpretation of "Below the Hurricane," lead singer Eric Earley's solo acoustic take on "The Man Who Would Speak True," which improved on the recorded version by doing more with less, and the Bad Company influenced rocker, "Evening Star." Although Earley's spectacular writing is what compels on record, live it's clear that these six musicians from Portland, Oregon are a real band. Though none of the members display any flash, and solos are a rare occurrence, they all know their parts and play them supportively and well.
Earley is a reluctant frontman, letting others do the talking for him and at times the band backs him with a little too much sensitivity. They know on which side their bread is buttered and it would be foolish to overwhelm their greatest asset. Yet one couldn't help but wish for them all to let it rip every once in awhile. But their selection of material favored the mellower end of their spectrum, including an extended acoustic set in the middle, so the emphasis was clearly a conscious choice and one which the crowd happily signed off on. By the end you left dazzled by the sheer amount of truly great songs and with a desire to see where the band might go from here. -dan siegler
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Pictures: Blitzen Trapper at Webster Hall
MP3: "Heaven and Earth" (Destroyer Of The Void)
Blitzen Trapper on Myspace