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Jared Bartman & Desert Neighbor @ Greyhouse Summer Concert Series (West Lafayette, IN)

July 17, 2010

Antics were had at last night’s installment of the Greyhouse summer concert series. 50 or so people came out in spite of the mugginess, including a few interesting characters (more on that later).

Desert Neighbor took the stage just after 9 pm. You wouldn’t know it, but it was their second time playing a live show.

They’re a conversational, guitar-driven quartet with songs promenading at a leisurely pace. I enjoyed their set–especially seeing some nice vibrato on guitar. Mid-performance, something on stage caught my eye:

And I was not disappointed. They pulled it out to add some tone to their last song.

[EDIT: Not a tuba? See comments.] Devin (the tubist) said he began his tuba career in 6th grade,  and never expected to play it much after. But lo and behold. It would make a band teacher proud. If you missed Desert Neighbor, last night was only the first show of their summer tour. If you’re in the IN/OH/IL/KY/MI area, check ’em out.

As the night wore on, the crowd dropped to 30ish–which is totally lame because Jared Bartman was worth the wait.

A multi-talented musician, Jared serenaded the crowd with an accordion, a guitar, and a keyboard. But he is his own best instrument. He has an expressive voice with a soulful tone (another victory for vibrato!). Some of his songs are polka-inspired, hence the accordion. He explained that his Polish grandparents first introduced him to the genre. But he adds his own twist, playing in minor keys. Sad polka or not, his songs have a playful story-telling ability a la Rory Stitt.

Mid-set, a special guest arrived on the scene. Remember the older gentleman from last week’s show? Well, he came back. And now he has a name.

Roy waltzed to the front of the crowd, and, after a brief repartee with Jared, succeeded in getting a song dedicated to him. When Jared dedicated the next song to Memphis, it proved too much for Roy. “OH SHIT!” he exclaimed. “I’m gonna start taking my clothes off!” Fortunately, Roy did not follow through. And eventually he left. But now I’m wondering…would it be so bad to get Roy on stage with a bass? I am dead serious, folks.

A bullet dodged, Jared continued the set. But out of the corner of my eye, I saw two smiling bros approach the crowd. One was wearing a hairy-naked-fat-man costume. He claimed a spot by Greyhouse’s door and swung his “penis” at onlookers.

Just behind him, a guy in a sumo suit plodded through the other side of the crowd. To top it off, traffic on State St. began to roar.

But like a champ, Jared continued.  At the end of the song, he proclaimed “Now that I’ve played at an intersection, I think I can do anything.”

The song “I Refute Technology” was a particularly memorable commentary on the wired world. Particularly memorable for me because he sang the line “I refuse to be digitized” right after I snapped a photo. Deep.

The set ended with Jared, sans instruments, singing “Dona Nobis Pacem.” The previous verses were looped on top of each other so Jared came to sound like a one-man chorus. It was a strong end to a memorable set. Plus, it took me back to my violin days when I played that song.

All in all, Jared out-shined the distractions, making for a memorable show.

And surprisingly, I only saw a few PCSs.


Girl At The Show


Desert Neighbor:

Greyhouse Coffee:

Jared Bartman:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 9:22 am

    Methinks it is a baritone as we used to play in Asgard. Tubas are much greater in girth. Some call them Sousaphones. Egads!

  2. July 21, 2010 1:27 am

    Oops…some musician I am!

  3. August 1, 2010 8:15 pm

    wish i could have been there for the Bartman and Desert Neighbor show. i’ve had the distinct pleasure of performing with both of these acts and i think Bartman especially is a shining beacon in the midwest.

  4. August 2, 2010 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the comment, John! It floors me how much talent there is in this region.


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