Although the Silver Jews have been around for 15 years, they've never actually toured. So, if for no other reason, their ultra-rare appearance at the High Noon Saloon on Saturday, April 15 was not to be missed.
Why, after all this time, did David Berman and his band decide to finally play before live crowds? Berman: "I wanted to tour to spread a very important message: Do not call me 'Dave.' I hate it when people call me Dave, and it's always super friendly people who call out, 'Hey, Dave!'"
Now you know.
I like this reason better: When someone asked the guy working the merch table why the Silver Jews were touring, the guy said, somewhat jokingly, "He just bought a house; he needs the money."
Whatever the reason, it was a treat to see this band airing out their music before an audience. It was only be band's 12th show ever, Berman announced, making the band "newer than the Arctic Monkeys!"
The band kicked off with "There Is A Place" from their recent album Tanglewood Numbers. The song's building refrain of "I saw God's shadow on the world," quickly engaged the sold-out crowd.
Other new songs the band worked in included "Animal Shapes" and the absurdist, rocking "Sometimes A Pony Gets Depressed." But the band rewarded its long-time fans by playing much of the best material from its older albums.
"Black And Brown Blues" was played early on and got a good reaction. "The Wild Kindness" from American Water sounded great, especially among other classic Silver Jews songs such as "Smith & Jones Forever," "Random Rules," "Horseleg Swastikas," "Slow Education," Pet Politics," and "Dallas."
Bearded, scruffy, and wearing a worn black blazer, Berman looked every bit the published poet he is. He also performed behind a music stand, which held his song lyrics, adding to the literary feel of the show.