I saw Hayden (No. Nope. Uh-uh. That's the one!) live in Atlanta about ten days ago, and I haven't written about it yet. So here we go.
The opening band, Everest, were absolutely wonderful. I'm not giving you any of their songs, but this link to their MySpace page will let you stream six of their best. A few songs in, I was trying to think how to describe them, and came up with Wilco-influenced-by-Sweetheart-of-the-Rodeo. Then, their very next song was a note-perfect Byrdsian rendition of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere." (Sadly, I can't find a recording of this online anywhere.) The older gentleman at our table said seeing them was like being in California in 1969 -- in reference to their Neil Young influence. Atlanta LOVES Everest -- expect them to headline at a nice-sized venue on their next trip through.
And speaking of people Atlanta loves, there was a good crowd to see Hayden, over a hundred people. I was amazed, since he's not exactly well-known around here, and also darlings of the blogosphere Vampire Weekend were playing not 500 yards down the street.
(This picture isn't from the Atlanta show, but it gives you a good idea of the stage setup, and the enormous backdrop, which is a drawing of the room the new album was recorded in. Click to embiggen.)
Here are a few of the songs he played live for us, all of which I'm very fond of. I'm happy to say that he played "Lonely Security Guard", the tale of a security guard fond of origami, and I'm not too proud to admit that in my excitement, I went "whoo" a little. (It's not a song that gets a lot of "whoo"s, I'll bet.) He sang "Trees Lounge" pretty early on, early enough that I hoped (in vain) he might also sing "Bad As They Seem," the other song related to that film. Both outline the plot of the film, and the dilemma of its protagonist. "Hollywood Ending," with its singalong chorus, got a nice cheer from the audience (and my concert companion, who before the show was not a Hayden fan but was converted.) Some guy in the back requested "Woody" (a song about Hayden's cat -- the spoken intro is from his live album) which seemed to surprise Hayden no end, but he sang and played it anyway.
The show was incredible, and I could literally give you six more songs I loved his performance of, but I'll stop here for now. Tuesday, come back and you can read about how my crush on Cat Power turned into full-blown love at The Tabernacle.