Live Guitars From New York: Chris Brokaw, Alan Licht, Elliott Sharp, Sonny Landreth & Daniel Johnston
His trio smokes from the uncut essence of over-the-top. Landreth plays the blues, frequently in instrumental form, but he casts in traditionally Southern flavors, sometimes following in the wake of Creedence Clearwater Revival, at others aiming for some kind of magnified zydeco thrash. The bass and drums are solid, but the latter in particular attain a free fluidity, especially at the extended climaxes of each number.
Landreth packed B.B. King's Club, transforming the crowd into a howling, head-shaking rabble. This is an artist with a devout set of followers, and this seething show acted as a suitable illustration of how he's earned such a heavy degree of worship.
October 14, 2009
The Californian singer and guitarist Daniel Johnston has made his reputation as an outsider artist, a musical primitive who nevertheless knows all about projecting a song. Playing to a crammed crowd at the Highline Ballroom, Johnston studiously makes his small electric guitar sound like an abused plastic ukulele. His vocal delivery is 'wayward,' when judged from a conventional, academic perspective. What Johnston possesses is an uncut communicative power, a naked channel inside his unsullied-by-training gut. His habit of shaking the microphone became so extreme that it fell apart twice, needing to be re-assembled by his co-guitarist and the sound engineer. Eventually, they gave him a new, indestructible replacement.
Johnston's own words are personal, but he also makes the lyrics of John Lennon