First things first: The good folks at Treehouse Concerts say there may be more room at Marah’s sold-out May 21 Washington-area concert, since its move to the Takoma Park VFW. If you want in, join their waiting list now. Marah’s last Treehouse show, as you’ll recall, was a truly excellent night.
Second things second: Sorry the BlackBerry photo is a Blackberry photo.
The Friday night before Easter in a big city is not an easy night to play. The conditions worsen when a cold rain comes out of nowhere on the weather map and pours from early until late. But a night that’s not an easy night to play can become an easy-playing night. Which is to say the night’s dark outlines don’t have to win. When the playing can see those clouds and sidestep under an umbrella, the music has a chance.
I’d never heard a Marah concert quite like the other night at Iota. The crowd hung back but seemed genuinely happy to be there. The band, just Dave and Christine on this run, got deep into moodier works but came to them by a certain peace. Contrary to the most recent album, for this show and apparently others recently, life was not a problem. Life was life and as good of an excuse as any to play beautiful music.
We got the pretty little lyric in the title of this post, in Body, along with Blue But Cool and Crying on an Airplane, all languor and naturalism. We got old stuff, even a cut off the old-old Rock & Roll Summer Camp ’98 album, and we got new stuff, with Tramp Art getting a nice reception. Dave wrote that song so long with so many words, but its greatness has made it catch. And we got loud at times, of course. For as many years as Catfisherman had behind it by now, the song swung harder than ever into funk. Outside the songs, we got threats of tweeting.
“I like watching the girl,” friend Sheri said at one point, and she wasn’t the first newcomer I’d heard say as much at recent shows. The Dave-Christine partnership seemed in strong shape Friday night, balanced and whole on stage. Christine was at least on keyboards, tambourine, harmonica, accordion, and drums. I’ve possibly forgotten a few others.
Random moments of interest? Mention of new material. Talk of Serge’s return to Pennsylvania. (A highlight from his wife Monica’s great blog, after renting a home sight unseen, based on Dave’s report to Serge: “He said the kitchen looks like Burger King and YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THAT?”) Dave also expressed much love for Iota, which looks terrific after its renovations. Marah has experienced some profoundly weird times at the joint — a karaoke night, a water main blast — and some simply profound ones. I was glad, as always, to live down the street.