Last week somehow I ended up at the Lizard Lounge to see Neil Halstead of Mojave 3 fame, because my ever adventurous concert-going buddy wanted to check it out. I hadn’t been familiar with either, but I listened to the stream of his entire most recent album Oh! Mighty Engine on his MySpace page. At its best some of the songs sound a bit like the dreamier side of Nick Drake, and it’s enjoyable if not particularly unusual.
The same could be said of a lot of the live performance. We got there half an hour late due to fact it was an early show (1 of 2 the LL was running that night) and the time of the show being completely unclear (I’ve learned never to trust the times listed on people’s MySpace pages which seem to always be wrong), but we still caught an hour’s worth of music. We may have missed a number of the newer songs, but it seems he did a fair number from his previous solo album, also dipping into his catalog of Mojave 3 tunes.
By the time we got there Halstead seemed to have settled into a very mellow set which emphasized a very Bob Dylan-esque delivery and, as you’d expect, it made things sound even more generic than they were. Halstead was accompanied by an able bassist and a lead guitarist who also provided mandolin on some songs. The latter provided much of the interest starting out, but once they hit “Elevenses”, one of the faster tracks on the new album, and “Paint a Face”, one of the best songs from the album, things picked up for me, and they ended on a high note. Other highlights for me were “Two Stones in my Pocket” from from his previous solo album and “Who Do You Love” from the Mojave 3 album Out of Tune. The crowd was relatively small but appreciative.
I’ve only come across one other blog entry on the show, although apparently Brad of Bradley’s Almanac fame was at the show also (actually in retrospect I think I saw him there). The pic above is one a few from his Flickr stream (which I hope he doesn’t mind me including). Now that I’m getting out to shows more I’m reminded of how great his site is, which I’ve dipped into off and on but which I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on. (And no, I’m not just saying that to suck up. Ha.)
In terms of mp3s, mojave3online.com has a link to some live tracks the touring band recently recorded for MySpace. So if you somehow missed them, this is a pretty close approximation. There are also a couple of solo shows from his previous tour in 2002 on archive.org.