Sunday, October 5, 2008

Anthony da Costa Back at the Postcrypt

Back in February, I had the pleasure of seeing Anthony da Costa at the Postcrypt (as I described here) with Abbie Gardner. And he was all over the place at Falcon Ridge as well (as I described here). Well, I was pleased to be able to catch up with him again last Saturday evening there in the basement of St. Paul's Chapel back at the Postcrypt Coffeehouse.

Playing before Anthony was Tanner Walle, a songwriter and guitarist, who was playing with a second guitarist and a bassist. The band played as a pretty tight unit, and they whipped out covers of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" and (for my generation) Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," both of which were major crowd-pleasers. Walle's originals, I'm afraid, didn't do much for me -- almost none of the lyrics took hold in my head -- but the band sounded good, and it was easy to get into their groove.

Anthony da Costa opened with a John Elliott song -- called something like "Let's Go Out Tonight Like It's Last Year" -- which had some great lyrics (references to "time wasted with your tongue" and how nice it must be to be a Mormon). (The photo to the right is of Anthony and John Elliott performing together.) He followed up with "Call Me Spent Tonight" and 'a song about falling in love for two weeks and then kidding yourself for another two or three,' "Upstate Living." "Hush Little Boy" was a new number. All of these were solid, although I find myself shaking my head and going, 'This guy writes a lot of broken hearted songs for a 17-year-old kid! How many relationships has he had?' (But I bet if I pulled down some notebooks full of poetry from high school...)

There's always free popcorn at the Postcrypt, and Anthony started riffing on kettle corn -- which has become a ubiquitous festival feature over the past few years -- and he revealed to all of us than John Gorka is a huge kettle corn fan (perhaps Ellen can verify this): 'We turned around for a second to watch Judy Collins sing about where the time goes, and Gorka was just shoveling it in! And who knows where the time goes?' Out of that story, he went into "Okemah Sunrise," receiving our applause at the end of the song by saying, 'Thank you very much. That was a sissy song for you.' On "Back of My Mind," Anthony had his foot stopping on the creaky old Postcrypt stage such that he came back to the same post-song motif as before: `That was a lot of testosterone for such a sissy song!' He followed with "At My Window Sad and Lonely," the Woody Guthrie lyric to which Jeff Tweedy put music for the Mermaid Avenue project. And then we got "The Wrestler," about a professional wrestler who always loses. "Snakes on the Plane" was followed by "Ghost is Back" to close the show.

Steve Kirkman accompanied Anthony on guitar for the evening and did a fine job but stayed clearly in the background to the wunderkind.

Along with John Elliott (see my review here) and Raina Rose, Anthony da Costa will be at the Living Room this Friday night, 10 October.

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