REVIEW: Sean Lennon/Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger @ The Woods (Portland, OR – 1/28/11)
FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM
Sean Lennon‘s last studio album, Friendly Fire, was brilliant. Not only was it chock full of great pop songs, but it also came with a DVD with a full album’s worth of cinematic music videos… for the entire album. Back in 2008, his new band Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (with Charlotte Kemp-Muhl) had a presence on MySpace… and put out some songs that eventually blossomed into the debut album – Acoustic Sessions (out in late 2010). They hit the road this past December & January, winding up with their last few shows here on the West Coast.
Opener Laura Gibson is a Portland local who has been the support on this recent GOASTT tour. Of all the venues on the tour, she said she could have “roller skated to this venue” (The Woods in the Sellwood neighborhood). She played 45 minutes with her drummer / multi-instrumentalistSean Ogilvie. Their set was quite wonderful: a folky, poppy duo… similar to the Weepies with a bit more charm, and very reminiscent in some of her vocal delivery to Maery Lanahan (from Seattle via Dayton, OH). Charming, well-crafted songs… and with anagram nicknames like “Albino Sugar” and “Eagle Vision,” you simply can’t go wrong with Laura Gibson & Sean Ogilvie!
After what seemed like a long-time, Sean, Charlotte & horn-player C.J. took the stage. They dug right into a new song, the only song I didn’t previously know… Sean rattled off the song name quickly. I didn’t catch it, except for they did sing “she’s got a meanstreak” a few times throughout. They played mostly everything from their Acoustic Sessions album except for “Robot Boy,” and also threw in a couple covers and a great song from Sean’s Friendly Fire album.
Sean sang and played guitar & drums. Charlotte also sang, played bass, accordion, toy piano/xylophone, melodica and other percussion. We never really got the real name of the horn-player, but “C.J. Calamari” played french horn and trumpet. He used several foot pedals to run the horns through effects processors… giving it a jazz-fusion sound that reminded me a lot of NYC-trumpet player Dave Douglas‘ Freak In album. It was a great electronic-rooted-in-brass timbre that really worked well with Sean & Charlotte’s poppy, eclectic-folky sound.
Setlist: 90 minutes
- new song “she’s got a meanstreak”
- Rainbows In Gasoline
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Lavender Road
- Shroedinger’s Cat
- Dark Matter, White Noise
- Songs For James
- Girl From The North Country [Bob Dylan]
- Candy Necklace
- Dead Meat [Sean Lennon]
- The World Was Made For Men [false start x3 / giggle fest]
- Bennie and the Jets [Elton John]
- The World Was Made For Men
When they announced “Lavender Road” as being their “rocking song,” I internally chuckled, but wow… they tore it up at the end with guitar, drum and horn solos that truly rocked out.
Throughout the night, the band joked a lot in between songs, many times to the point of inability to hold back the laughter (both the crowd & band). You’d think this was a comedy tour instead of a music tour. There were stories of bar fights at Tex-Mex restaurants. Sean added a silly little impromptu “reggae rap” at the end of “Candy Necklace.” And the “worldwide venereal disease of tuning / history of world music” from Sean after Charlotte pulled out the accordion for “Song For James” was quite piece of stagecraft with many bad accents.
The 90 minutes they were on stage flew by far too quickly. They spared us the “ruse that is the encore,” but when they couldn’t get past the first 15 seconds of “The World Was Made For Men” due to a giggle fest from both Charlotte & Sean, they rocked into a seemingly impromptu “Bennie & the Jets” with the house piano on stage, and then finally hit “The World” again with a giggle-free completion and many cheers!
I’ve been privileged with many shows, but this was one of the best shows in a while – definitely for the year. Great songs, great people, great humor, great musicianship, great souls… and you could tell that they were having fun on stage. Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger plays Seattle tonight before heading back home. Check out their album Acoustic Sessions… it’s bueno!
more photos below
The Appropriate Linkage:
- GOASTT’s Site
- GOASTT’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Laura Gibson’s Site
- Laura Gibson’s Facebook / MySpace / Twitter
- My Related Reviews~
- Sean Lennon w/ Nels Cline Singers (Portland – Jan 30, 2011)
- The Woods’ Site / Facebook / Twitter
Check out more tour dates below.
Next show for me… Nels Cline Singer and Yuka Honda on 1/30.
GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution
GOASTT 2010/2011 Tour (backwards order)
- Saturday 1/29/11 – The Crocodile, Seattle WA
- Friday 1/28/11 – The Woods, Portland OR
- Tuesday 1/25/11 – Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco CA
- Saturday 1/22/11 – Pappy & Harriets, Pioneertown (Joshua Tree) CA
- Friday 1/21/11 – Club Congress, Tucson AZ
- Wednesday 1/19/11 – Cactus Cafe, Austin TX
- Tuesday 1/18/11 – Dan’s Silver Leaf, Denton TX
- Saturday 1/15/11 – The Earl, Atlanta GA
- Friday 1/14/11 – Melting Point, Athens GA
- Thursday 1/13/11 – Evening Muse, Charlotte NC
- Wednesday 1/12/11 – Local 506, Chapel Hill NC
- Tuesday 1/11/11 – Ioata, Washington D.C.
- Saturday 1/8/11 – Rockwood Music Hall, New York NY
- Friday 1/7/11 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia PA
- Thursday 1/6/11 – Great Scott, Boston MA
- Friday 12/17/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
- Thursday 12/16/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
- Wednesday 12/15/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
- Tuesday 12/14/10 Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Monday 12/13/10 Frannz Club, Berlin, Germany
- Saturday 12/11/10 MOD, Hasselt, Belgium
- Friday 12/10/10 Zenith, Saint Herblain, France (with -M-)
- Thursday 12/9/10 Zenith, Saint Herblain, France (with -M-)
- Wednesday 12/8/10 Grand Hall, Tours, France (with -M-)
- Tuesday 12/7/10 Zenith d’Orleans, Orleans, France (with -M-)
- Friday 12/3/10 Arena de Montpellier, Montpellier, France (with -M-)
- Thursday 12/2/10 Nikaia, Nice, France (with -M-)
- Wednesday 11/17/10 Largo, Los Angeles, CA