Pete Yorn: The Fillmore, San Francisco (2-13-07)

There was a lot of buzz about Pete Yorn back in 2001. None of my friends had heard of him, but I kept hearing the name come up in circles, so I took a chance and bought Musicforthemorningafter. It quickly became a favorite, and not only has it remained a favorite, but his subsequent albums Day I Forgot and Nightcrawler have also become favorites. So naturally when the opportunity presented itself for me to see Pete Yorn live, I jumped at the chance. Not to mention he was playing the Fillmore which is a great venue with legend status. The show was a sell out so I got there as early as I could to make sure I could at least see, and ended up just feet from the stage. There were two bands opening Charlotte Martin and Aqualung. I’d only heard one of Charlotte’s songs before last night and thought it sounded a lot like Tori Amos, I got the same feeling from her live performance. Aqualung has been in my rotation since my preparatory collecting I did for ACL in 2005. He gained some popularity between then and now with some exposure on Scrubs, The O.C. and the single “Brighter than Sunshine.” The set was solid and Matt Hales band was very tight and I enjoyed it a lot…much more than the last time I saw him play in Austin. He played some new songs from his album that will be out in March and it made me look forward to its release.
Pete Yorn put on a great show. The sell out crowd was very excited and really into the music and Pete and his band were equally enthusiastic. When done correctly, the 5-piece band is a beautiful thing, and Pete Yorn and his band did it correctly. He started off the set with a quick hit of “Friend of the Devil” which at the time I thought was an homage to the Fillmore/Grateful Dead connection, but when I saw a bootleg I got from Heather (the biggest Yorn fan I’ve seen on the internet), I noticed he kicked off a Denver show last summer with the same song. They were filming the show last night, but there were several technical difficulties that may either require some creative editing or bump any DVD performance to a different venue. Other than “Lose You” (which might have lost the crowd’s enthusiasm) I can’t think of a song that I wanted to hear that he didn’t play. The 5-piece band allows for multi-instrumentalism to be utilized so Joe Kennedy jumped between lead guitar and keys, whereas rhythm guitarist whose name escapes me (edit: Tim Walker) jumped on the pedal steel when the songs called for it. Something that makes Pete’s live performance different from his albums is he generally tries to play as much of the music on his albums as possible. I read an article that said that he was such a perfectionist that he had a hard time working with other musicians, but it didn’t seem like there was any problem giving up the control last night. Perhaps the quality of his backing crew made all the difference. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pete’s music, the only word I can use to describe it is that it’s rock. The second you try to put him in a genre or category is the second it doesn’t fit. Last night reminded me that he’s pretty brilliant as a songwriter and very talented with his guitar. He involved the crowd a lot in singing along and his drummer Malcolm Cross got the crowd energized when it seemed that they’d cooled. In looking up some other information, I noticed that several members of the backing band last night make up the California band Minibar, who I’m a fan of, but know nothing about other than loving their song “Road Movies.” I’d give the performance 5 stars and highly recommend checking him out if he comes to your area…and if you can get a ticket. Oh and in case you didn’t already know…the chicks dig the Pete Yorn.

Buy Musicforthemorningafter
Buy Day I Forgot
Buy Nightcrawler
Buy Live From New Jersey

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