Sunday, May 3, 2015

Waterstrider at Rickshaw Stop – A Concert Review

     While enjoying the Waterstrider’s performance in San Francisco on April 29, some time was unexpectedly spent on the word “artist.” In writing blog posts, we sometimes refer to musicians as artists, but tend to look for other terms. We recognize that it might be flawed, but we define “artist” restrictively – someone who generates paintings, sculptures and other handcrafted artistic works. In a music blog, we’re comfortable in applying the word only if:
   1.    It’s preceded by “solo” to identify a musician who performs under her or his name – Brandon Flowers went from band member of the Killers to solo artist when he performed at Rickshaw Stop on April 16; or
   2. We’re stuck, because it’s difficult to find an alternative word when referring to the performers of a group of songs in which some are from bands and others from solo singer/songwriters; or
    3. A musician uses techniques that are “artistic,” which involves being extraordinary in terms of both the approach and the execution of that approach.

     What’s the point? Well, we started thinking about the definition of “artist” while focusing on the vocal skills of Nate Salman. Vocally, he is an artist. The distinctive soars, the ability to stay on pitch while moving comfortably and adeptly within the falsetto register, and the careful planning around when and how to apply vocal processing combine to justify that description. At one point, Salman asked the audience to turn around and applaud the person who was applying the processing (we apologize for not being able to remember his name). The appreciation was deserved.
We forgot our camera, so the cell phone pinch hit. 
     At times, the shoegaze work of guitarist Drew Brown was artistic as well. He interacted with other members of Waterstrider through most of the performance, but sometimes seemed to be in isolation as he concentrated on precisely producing the guitar effects he wanted.
      At other times, Brijean Murphy was a show by herself, as she worked her magic with the congas. A good example is the final 90 seconds of “Nowhere Now,” which was the last song in the all-too-short setlist of Waterstrider. As an interesting comparison, one of the early songs of the setlist was “White Light,” during which Murphy uses the metallic rims of the congas, rather than the skins.
     The other two skilled musicians of Waterstrider are Scott Brown (bass and synth) and Walker Johnson (drums). On a personal note, we thank Johnson for sending us useful information about the band's activities, including the tour schedule that's included further down within this post.
     “Nowhere Now"

     “White Light”


Waterstrider is preparing for a US tour! They will open for Trails & Ways, except for the first and last shows that are shown below:
5/28 Oakland - Leo's
6/6 Los Angeles - The Bootleg HiFi
6/7 Phoenix - Valley Bar
6/9 Austin  - Red 7
6/10 Dallas - Club Dada
6/12 Atlanta  - 529
6/13 Chapel Hill - Local 506
6/14 Washington, D.C. - DC9
6/16 Philadelphia  - Kung Fu Necktie
6/18 New York City - Mercury Lounge
6/19 Boston - Red Room @ Cafe 939
6/20 Brooklyn - Palisades
6/22 Cleveland - Beachland Tavern
6/23 Chicago - Schubas Tavern
6/24 St. Paul - Turf Club
6/26 Denver - Larimer Lounge
6/27 Salt Lake City - Kilby Court
7/10 San Francisco - Great American Music Hall

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