April 6, 2005
Graham Parker has become a bit of a troubadour. He records and plays the music that he wants to make. On Wednesday, April 6th, Parker made a rare New York appearance at the tiny, yet fabled Long Island venue.
Accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, Parker provided the adoring crowd with an evening of wonderful acoustic bluesy R&B. Drawing from his extensive catalog of hits, near hits and should-have-been hits, Parker was engaging, introspective and funny. He told a very interesting and amusing story about his love of ebay and the three pairs of oversized police sunglasses that he'd recently purchased on the auction site.
Over the past few years, Parker has gone from the angry young man to acoustic performer. Although Parker still plays with his band The Figgs and will be releasing a new electric CD, Songs of No Consequence in two months, Parker seems to be more reflective as time marches on. In recent years he has released the acoustic Live Alone: In America, Live Alone: Discovering Japan and Live Alone: The Bastard of Belgium (available only at www.grahamparker.net). In keeping with these excursions into roots/acoustic and even a cappella music Parker treated the Long Island faithful to an unforgettable night of beautiful songcraft and music.
Playing up to the crowd, Parker pleased even the most diehard fans by playing versions old favorites ("Wrapping Paper," "Fool's Gold" and "Waiting For The UFO's") as well as new songs from the as yet unreleased Bloodshot Records CD ("Evil," "Vanity Press" and "She Swallows It").
As the night went on, Parker effortlessly switched between electric and acoustic guitar while playing stripped down versions of "White Honey," "Long Stem Rose," "If It Ever Stops Raining," "A Brand New Book," "Between You And Me," "Hotel Chambermaid" and many others. Explaining to the audience that he was about to play a song that was written about a true story, Parker did a soulful rendition of "I'll Never Play Jacksonville Again." The song ended with, Parker adding "and I've never been back there since."
This was a very intimate show. Parker made sure that his originals stood up well with simply his guitar backing him. The melancholy songs came across as passionate and sweet. The rockin' angry songs like "Get Started/Start A Fire" were strong and stark. The covers were well chosen and gave a glimpse into what makes Parker tick. Asking the crowd if they liked Van Morrison, Parker responded to the cheers by stating, "yeah, me too." He then treated his audience to a fantastic version of Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately." The audience was given their chance to shine and sing along as Parker closed out the main part of the show with "Local Girls" from 1979's Squeezing Out Sparks.
And then came the encores! An a cappella version of "Someone To Watch Over Me" left the crowd speechless. Parker then picked up his guitar explained that he was not really a fan of The Grateful Dead. He nonetheless launched into a nice version of "Sugaree." Next up was a bright, playful and fun version of "Hold Back The Night." The final encore reminded the audience that Parker was/is and always will be a fantastic songwriter. "Don't Let It Break You Down" was powerful, fun and most of all left the audience wanting more.