While watching Howe Gelb's performance last night at McCabe's, I kept asking myself "How in the world can I describe this show in words". Almost twenty-four hours later, I still don't have a good answer - trying to write about a quirky artist and his idiosyncratic ways is a daunting task, no doubt.
In Howe Gelb's case, "quirky" means nonconformism, and I mean nonconformism of the highest degree. He doesn't care about industry trends. He is not interested in what sells at the moment. He is not into copying anyone else. He does what he does and that's just the way it is. The end result may not please everyone, but isn't that the case with every other artist that has ever lived, Elvis and the Stones included? Of course, the trick is to produce more fans than detractors, and if you achieve that, you will be playing to full rooms for the rest of your life. But there was no full room last night at McCabe's and there were no encores either. Nor has anyone left early and that, I think, captures the difficulty of writing about Howe Gelb's performance.
|Howe Gelb at McCabe's|
The upshot of it all was something that, in my opinion, does not have to be experienced again, yet I do feel good about having been exposed to Howe Gelb's universe. And I'm extremely curious to see the results of his current production work with KT Tunstall, who was there last night and even joined Howe on stage for a few songs.
|KT Tunstall on stage at McCabe's|
There were only two songs I recognized, "Cowboy Boots On Cobblestone" and "One Diner Town", both coming from Howe's recent "Alegrias" album.
|KT Tunstall & Howe Gelb thanking the crowd|
|KT Tunstall and husband Luke, after the concert|
|Howe Gelb (seated) chatting with fans|
|Howe Gelb signing autographs|
|KT Tunstall signing autographs|
|KT Tunstall with my friend Steve|