I've seen Robbie Fulks twice now, the first time in 2004, then again in July 2011. Two shows, same venue, two very different impressions.
July 31, 2004. Robbie's show wasn't bad, but I went home with expectations slightly unfulfilled, as I felt there was too much "country" and not enough "alt" in his show. I can't say the concert was boring, but I found Robbie to be a little less engaging than some of the other leading artists in his vein. It was a solo show, with no guests and no back-up musicians. He performed the whole concert standing up, towering over McCabe's' tiny stage. "She Took A Lot Of Pills And Died" is the only song I can recall from his entire gig.
But Ben Vaughn, Robbie's unannounced opening act, was a revelation. At that time, Ben was nothing more than just a name I had heard of before. His songs were exceptionally good - the one that stood out the most was "Growin' A Beard", a humorous rockabilly ditty. In the ensuing months and years, I found myself buying and listening a lot to Ben's music, all thanks to his thirty-minute opening slot at McCabe's.
July 31, 2011. Robbie Fulks came out with guitarist Robbie Gjersoe, who played the guitar, provided backup vocals, as well as some good humor. The two Robbies put on an outstanding show, full of energy, laughter, quality songs, great picking and strong vocals. I enjoyed very much the family-room atmosphere created by the two musicians, who clearly had as much fun as the crowd.
|Robbie Fulks (right) and Robbie Gjersoe at McCabe's|
|The set list|
|Michael McKean chatting with Robbie Fulks after the show|
|Michael McKean and Robbie Fulks after the show|
|The empty stage, after the show|