Carrboro was great on Monday night. Dave pivoted away from the big chunks of Blanco and put together a more integrated setlist from across his catalog.
1. Laura Gibson, whose most recent album I have spent only a little time with, was a very engaging storyteller and intimate performer. Some of the more baroque elements of her album seem in retrospect a bit distracting when contrasted with the beautiful bare songwriting. Not all of it was my kind of thing but she is masterful at grounding a certain feeling just-so in a very specific image. The best example that comes immediately to mind is in one song she has sort of traced a history of a couple who are now separated and the image she employs to illustrate that the lover is with someone new is that he/she is sitting in a kitchen peeling clementines at a table with someone else. It really dropped the floor out from under what to that point was a song that didn't have any teeth for me. A very, very captivating set and just the kind of thing to inspire someone to spend more time creating things in the world.
2. Dave played "Options" from Control during the set and the crowd let out a big cheer for it, but I was struck by just how childish it sounded compared to the material from the past 18 months or so. I immediately superimposed the line from "Little Landslides," "Another young man tells his story before his heart is even broken one time" over the top of it as he played, and I realized how much respect I have for his recent work. He worked through "Big Trucks" and the leg-shaving song and he just sounded 12 years old. I mean, I love those songs, but they are so carefree they sounded like they came from another generation, like covering Mott the Hoople or something. The highlight of the set was a lovely, sparse version of "Someone Else's Bet" wherein I thought DB did the best job of playing to the strengths of the solo-guy-with-guitar format, taking advantage of his own broad dynamic range and a more storytelling approach to the lyrics as if he was shepherding us all through that sad scene. In that same vein was a similarly smart arrangement of "Oblivion" and together those songs represented the best of what he can do when he doesn't have to account for a second musician. Anyway, great evening of music and inspiring as always to be thoughtful about my own creative life, etc.