Tag Archives: Robert Gomez

Religious Experience: Sarah Jaffe, Robert Gomez and Seryn at St. David’s in Denton

17 Jan


By Jesseca Bagherpour

I’ll begin this review on a personal note: When I walked into St. David’s Episcopal church on Friday night , I was insanely uncomfortable. It’s been about six years since I’ve intentionally walked into a church sanctuary (aside from weddings and functions at church daycares where I’ve worked, but that’s different). I was once a devout Christian and am now agnostic (for lack of a better term). Sitting in a pew, my back stiffening, and looking at the altar and the Jesus banners brought back a rush of emotions for me. Being in the church for four hours forced me to confront some feelings that I won’t go into here. But I felt it necessary to give an idea of my discomfort to illustrate just how breathtaking the show was. Despite the initial tension, the music put me completely at ease.

I’d never seen opening act Seryn before, and they thoroughly impressed me. They held their own with the more experienced Jaffe and Gomez and their performance was flawless. What stands out the most with Seryn is their striking vocal harmonies. They’re a group of phenomenally talented multi-instrumentalists, but their voices are their most finely-tuned instruments. Though at times I was momentarily distracted by the praise-band feel of the music (which is hard to ignore when you’re in a church), and although some of the songs were a bit less interesting than others, my focus inevitably went back to the band’s harmonies.

The start of Robert Gomez’s set was delayed a bit due to technical issues, but it was well worth the wait. I see Gomez every chance I get, in fact I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen him at this point, but I think this was my favorite Gomez performance to date. The venue’s perfect acoustics and the audience’s complete silence didn’t hurt, but Gomez was also in peak form. He’s played solo the last few times I’ve seen him and I was glad to see Heather Test (on French horn) and Jesse Chandler (on flute and omnichord) accompanying him. Though his music sounds good no matter the number of instruments involved, it sounds richer when he has at least a couple of people backing him.

The highlight of the set for me was probably “Chicken (Americauna pullet, beheaded in Alabama for Sunday dinner, 1958)”, a song from his in-progress album based on Severance: Stories, a book of stories about decapitation by Robert Olen Butler. As with all of Gomez’s tunes, the intricate narrative of the song completely drew me in. And the plucking of his taut guitar strings were evocative of a chicken’s pecking and clucking, making the story that much more relatable.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Sarah Jaffe. She has a completely captivating presence, an unmistakable voice and a sincerity that makes you feel every emotion her lyrics convey. Seryn joined Jaffe for her opener, an a capella rendition of the classic hymn “Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing” and, despite a few missed notes here and there, the song sent chills up my spine. And the set only got better from there. She played some of my favorite tunes, including “Stay With Me”, “Black Hoax Lie”, “Two Intangibles”, and “Even Born Again” (despite the decidedly anti-religious tone of the song, it felt in no way disrespectful in the religious setting but was even more poignant than usual).

With each song, one thought remained constant: Jaffe’s and Gomez’s voices were made to be together. (This also came up when Jaffe provided backing vocals on Gomez’s final song of the night.) Whichever vocalist is singing lead, the other’s harmonies are the perfect complement. Becki Howard (on violin) also provided great vocal support, but the combination of Gomez and Jaffe is transcendent.

The evening came to a climactic ending with Jaffe, Gomez and the male members of Seryn gathering on stage for “Perfect Plan”. The dominant bass drum (which was perhaps too dominant in this instance) and guitar riff get me every time with that song, and inevitably stick with me for hours after it’s over. Because of the sheer energy of the performers and song, the audience was drawn into clapping their hands and soon everyone present was contributing to the music in some way. Jaffe closed her set to uproarious applause and cheers, which is a reaction I’m sure she’ll be receiving for years to come (and for the next couple of months while she tours Europe with Midlake).

Note: Midlake’s Eric Pulido and The Hope Trust’s Andy Odom, both members of St. David’s congregation, arranged the show after realizing that the sanctuary would make for an incredible venue. They were right, and after Friday’s success we should see more shows there in the future.

Rundown: 1/11-1/17

12 Jan

We apologize for the tardiness of this week’s Rundown. We’ve been dealing with a lot of stress: career changes, family crises, illness, favorite local acts going on indefinite hiatus and, of course, the controversy surrounding NBC’s late night lineup.

I think I speak for all of the staffers at Daybowbow when I say I am staunchly pro-Conan and anti-Leno. Now, as a professional journalist (believe it or not, I am a professional journalist) I am not supposed to take sides in public debates. But I can’t hold back with this one.

Jay Leno is being an asshole. A rich, car-obsessed, humorless asshole. He needs to step down gracefully, as Johnny Carson (a better man than Leno will ever be) did in 1992. He knew six years in advance that Conan was going to take over the reins and he (and NBC) should give him a chance to get a feel for his new time slot.

Now, recently NBC has only existed for me on Thursday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday nights from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. And their crappy prime time lineup has a lot to do with their poor late night ratings. But I’ve watched Conan since childhood. He’s intelligent, funny and much more forward-thinking than Leno could ever hope to be. He might be a tad too off-the-wall and raunchy for some people (i.e. my staunchly conservative grandparents), but that’s preferable to Leno’s recycled, middlebrow (at best) style of “comedy”.

I agree with Conan’s sentiments that the late night lineup should stay as is. They never should have fussed with the formula in the first place, and fussing with it more isn’t going to magically improve their ratings. I’m not a television programmer, so I don’t know what they can do to fix their ratings, but driving Conan away certainly won’t help matters.

Anyway, that’s enough of my rant. Here’s the cream-of-the-crop as far as local shows this week. As always, feel free to let us know about anything we missed in the comments section.

-Jess

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Rundown: 9/29 to 10/4

28 Sep

This Trees thing annoys me. Really I hate the way it’s being heralded as the savior of Deep Ellum, despite the fact that the bar is catering to the Firewater set by bringing in bands who are sans radio play, and were popular for like a second in about 1998 (Looking directly at you Powerman 5000, and really who would have thought a Ozzfest band would take their name from a Kinks album.). Seriously, there were 4 news stations there covering it’s opening, Vanilla Ice sold out the place, and various media outlets are have continually gone ape shit with coverage of the places exploits.

The fact of the matter is what John Is does with Parade of Flesh is a thousand times more influential to the “scene” down there then anything Trees has done so far. Seriously, the man tirelessly books a wide variety of quality acts in various clubs in the area, and doesn’t get a quarter of the press that shitty bar gets, and that’s a tragedy.

I’m taking this space to thank John for the hard work, Parade of Flesh continues to book some of the top shows in the area, and it’s much appreciated.

Big week around these parts folks, take a look at the shows, and start making plans to go out.

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Rundown: 7/7 to 7/12

7 Jul

The issue of doing most of the writing for this site is when something comes up I don’t really have anyone to fall back on to get post up, and I’m forced to through random shit up via my phone. Anyway, we’ve got a fairly decent week capped by a free show we’re throwing, and a that little bit of breaking news we had for you on Sunday. Continue reading

Rundown: 4/20 to 4/26

20 Apr

I’m not one to complain about the opportunity to see some quality live music, but doesn’t it feel like the calender has been rather hectic since NX35? It’s been one big touring act after another, and countless quality local fare almost every night for over a month now. Like I said, far be it for me to complain about actually having things I want to see, especially when there can be some pretty bleak times around these parts, but man I’m fucking broke. Anyway, this week is loaded yet again with quality and quantity, take a look after the cut. Continue reading

Rundown: NX35 Saturday & Sunday

12 Mar

This may be the longest yet. In fact holy fuck I can’t believe I did this as a combo. Continue reading

Rundown: NX35 Friday

11 Mar

This is also going to be long. Continue reading