On Monday I went with Megan, Jessica and Travis to the Bowery Ballroom to see Jose Gonzalez. Psapp (pronounced sap) opened the night with a fun mix of electronica and repetitive melodic acoustic and electric instrumentation with an interesting use of children's instruments and noise-making toys that ranged from children's xylophones to farmyard noise-makers and squeaky rubber poultry. After each song Psapp named and threw a small plastic animal toy into the audience.
Next up was Juana Molina from Argentina. Her breathy vocals and synthesized sound combined with her ever calming acoustic picking and masterful looping almost had me hypnotized. For a while we couldn't figure out the uni-brow, but then understood that Psapp had drawn (or pasted - we couldn't tell, we were on the balcony) it on the unassuming Juana.
Jose Gonzalez closed the show sounding pretty much exactly like his cd, which is to be appreciated in one aspect... but slightly disappointing in another. When I go to a show, I can tell it's a good one if I feel more connected to the artist, the music, the world or understand myself better afterwards. A good concert experience is something that can't quite be described but it sticks with you for days. It makes listening to the artist a different experience not only during, but after the show as well. So until we got to Heartbeats (the second song of the encore) Jose was just like listening to Verneer. Heartbeats was highly entertaining, as he sang an octave lower than the recording, played with a mask on and had Psapp and Juana join him on stage to help him draw out certain lines into comical nothingness. Megan was lucky enough to capture the whole thing.
Overall a satisfying, not captivating show.