An artist and his instrument

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pcqgod
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An artist and his instrument

Postby pcqgod » 15 Mar 2017, 21:00

When I for the first time in life saw Jonathan Richman perform live about two years ago, I was somewhat surprised that his backing "band" was basically a drummer and some percussion instruments he picked up during various songs to accompany himself. On certain songs, the drummer sat out entirely, leaving Jonathan free to stop and start songs as he wished and tailor the performance to the situation, sometimes purposely not singing in the mike so that the people in the audience would have to crowd up to the stage to hear him. That made me think of other similar performances I had seen when it was basically an artist with his chosen instrument on stage. Michael Nesmith thrived in this setting when I saw back in the early 90's; his songs seemed tailor-made for this kind of intimate, conversational performance. I recall Nick Lowe doing a good job transposing his pop hits to acoustic performance. Ben Folds, on the occasion I saw him, played with a backing band but also played several songs, including "Army" unaccompanied except for his own piano. At one point, he actually climbed on top of it to help "direct" audience members singing the horn parts in the song.

What are some memorable performances you've seen featuring only an artist and his instrument?
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Tactful Cactus
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Tactful Cactus » 16 Mar 2017, 10:57

Good question. I saw Jonathan Richman last November aswell, in Boston! He's one of the few artists I'd associate with that city so I was delighted he was playing there while I was in town. The performance was very similar to how you described it. It was a bit shambolic but really spellbinding. He actually finished the concert with a Sicilian poem! Memorable.

Another example would be seeing Angel Olson, she played with a band but performed White Fire alone with guitar and it was a really stunning pairing of guitar and vocal. I'll never forget that

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Jimbo » 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Saw Graham Parker with just a guitar. He'd switch from electric to acoustic. I wished he'd had a band. It was like Graham Parker: busker.

Oh, and Neil Young with just a guitar - - - in an arena. I wasn't familiar with his work beyond Southern Girl and songs from that era so it was a huge bore and a waste of money.
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 16 Mar 2017, 11:23

The master of it... Peter Hammill
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Geezee » 16 Mar 2017, 12:11

No, the master of it is Robin Williamson. It's awe-inspiring.

I'd also throw Guy Clark in there - I mean he also made the damn guitars he was playing...I recall seeing him play an early version of The Guitar as well, and that was pretty incredible.
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Hightea » 16 Mar 2017, 13:25

stunning live performances by instrument

Drums: Tony Williams, Max Roach, Buddy Rich
Guitar: Jorma, Neil Young, Andreas segovia, Joe Pass, John Williams, Julian Bream
Bass: Jaco
Piano: Tori Amos, Oscar Peterson, MCCoy Tyner,

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby pcqgod » 16 Mar 2017, 15:15

Hightea wrote:
Drums: Tony Williams, Max Roach, Buddy Rich


Whoa. I am the color of Shrek right now. :mrgreen:
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby pcqgod » 16 Mar 2017, 15:17

Jimbo wrote:Saw Graham Parker with just a guitar. He'd switch from electric to acoustic. I wished he'd had a band. It was like Graham Parker: busker.

Oh, and Neil Young with just a guitar - - - in an arena. I wasn't familiar with his work beyond Southern Girl and songs from that era so it was a huge bore and a waste of money.


I actually should have asked if some people think it's a waste of time seeing an artist who usually plays in a band play a solo set. Obviously, I'm in the camp that thinks a completely solo set can be a rewarding experience.
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Hightea » 16 Mar 2017, 15:35

pcqgod wrote:
Hightea wrote:
Drums: Tony Williams, Max Roach, Buddy Rich


Whoa. I am the color of Shrek right now. :mrgreen:


Well they were all back in the late 70's and early 80's. I'm so glad I got sick of punk quickly and became a jazz fan so was able to see lots of jazz in NYC before some of the greats were lost.

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Jimbo » 16 Mar 2017, 15:48

pcqgod wrote:
Jimbo wrote:Saw Graham Parker with just a guitar. He'd switch from electric to acoustic. I wished he'd had a band. It was like Graham Parker: busker.

Oh, and Neil Young with just a guitar - - - in an arena. I wasn't familiar with his work beyond Southern Girl and songs from that era so it was a huge bore and a waste of money.


I actually should have asked if some people think it's a waste of time seeing an artist who usually plays in a band play a solo set. Obviously, I'm in the camp that thinks a completely solo set can be a rewarding experience.


It was a person like me about whom Kurt Colbain got all snarky when he sang, "Here we are now. Entertain us."
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Charlie O. » 16 Mar 2017, 16:41

Jimbo: "Play 'Southern Girl'!"

Neil: "Just for that, I'm gonna play all of Greendale again."
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Neige » 16 Mar 2017, 20:11

Memory might play tricks on me, but I think I saw a solo Maria McKee touring her 'difficult' third album Life Is Sweet alone, with a really dirty-sounding electric guitar (or at least the rhythm section wasn't memorable at all). I was riveted for the whole show.
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby John aka Josh » 16 Mar 2017, 20:29

First time I saw Jonathan Richman was a solo performance in Eric's, Liverpool. It was fantastic, seen him since with a band & the solo performance was more memorable.


Lol Coxhill was good, but not great on the occasion I saw him (Liberty Hall, Everyman Theatre).




Not sure if the rest count; artists like Ketil Bjornstad who was phenomenal, the richness of the live sound making the recorded works sound diminished, Martin Simpson, Larry Johnson, Steve Tilston, Pete Rowan, Yoko Ono (classical pianist) & Vin Garbutt as they are often solo (I guess Pete Rowan often plays with others).
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 16 Mar 2017, 20:51

An artist and his instrument, yesterday:

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby K » 16 Mar 2017, 22:50

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Muskrat » 17 Mar 2017, 03:50

Pretty much a lost art.

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby trans-chigley express » 17 Mar 2017, 04:41

I've seen Roy Harper a few times with just him and his guitar, always worth seeing.

John Renbourne solo is spellbinding.

Gordon Giltrap is an equally spellbinding acoustic guitarist and he's also chatty and funny so some nice between song banter.

Steve Hackett was another good solo performance to watch, probably actually better than when he was with a band.

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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Jeemo » 17 Mar 2017, 14:59

Jackie Leven - master storyteller
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Bruce Molsky - Old Time American folk musician.

Most folkies tour solo as it keeps costs down.

Greg Lake - Songs of A Lifetime. Worst gig ever.
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Charlie O. » 19 Mar 2017, 00:58

Jeemo wrote:Greg Lake - Songs of A Lifetime. Worst gig ever.

Not that I was a fan, but you've piqued my curiosity. What made it so outstandingly awful?
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Re: An artist and his instrument

Postby Bent Fabric » 19 Mar 2017, 01:05

Charlie O. wrote:
Jeemo wrote:Greg Lake - Songs of A Lifetime. Worst gig ever.

Not that I was a fan, but you've piqued my curiosity. What made it so outstandingly awful?


I like ITCOTCK and a small amount of ELP, but...there was a sort of "highlight reel" doing the rounds on YouTube at one point (presumably still there) that portrayed a certain grimness.


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