Jeff Lang ” Half Seas Over Tour

The Street Theatre, 01/06/08

by Manas Blackman

Jeff Lang was in town, and though I had been happily oblivious the day before, I had become filled with anticipatory delight, having received news about a ticket to his show. I was fortunate enough to get myself to the Street Theatre to see someone I had heard great things about, but had never seen play.

Waiting to go in to the show I approached the groupie accoutrements table, with Jeff Lang things to wear and listen to, including 7-inches of vinyl ” “Disturbed Folk Music” ” which I picked up for ten bucks but am yet to play. It was here that I found out that he was to be supported by Kara Grainger. Someone who I had seen as much of as the man himself. Her cd was also up for grabs.

Sitting in the corridor that leads to the entrance I watched some people come striding through with a purpose. I was wondering if it was Jeff, his bass player and Kara checking out the scene. All I really saw was a not-so-tall guy with a beard followed by two others, and the nature of their gait, which made them stick out like proverbials.

So, once introduced as “incomparable”, on he came, and yep, it had been Jeff who came oh so close in the foyer. No longer in civi”s, he was in a sharp suit that had a modern old timey feel.

First however, I should mention Kara. Great voice, from plenty of air, to thick like King Island whenever she felt like it ” nice. She could play too. She did a version of Robert Johnson”s “Love In Vain” which was definitely her own.

Now back to Mr Lang. Introduced as “incomparable”, yep I know”

He is that, though you could compare him to Bob Brozman, who, by the way, is a buddy of Jeff”s (big name dropper). They are about the same height and have about the same amount of hair on their face and both play the guitar like no one else can, accept each other of course. Ok, I only noticed a few similarities in their style, but easily comparable”

Jeff has amazing command of the guitar. He has great capacity for timing and speed and holding it all together. Many would give up a left one to have the skill this guy has. He is, as they say, powerful good, and there were plenty of whoops and hollers when his skill was on display. Funny thing was the bass player, Grant Cummerford, could hardly be heard. He did look as though he was going off, but it was all Jeff in the front of house.

He played several guitars with ease. Just as at home on lap slide as on bottleneck and fingered. He was billed as having “eloquent guitar, sweet voice and sensitive approach”, and he does have a unique voice, with a country twang and a lot of power, however I found that for all that incredible skill on the guitar ” powerful control, timing and speed ” it lacked sweetness and beauty on this night.

I have a deep appreciation for slide guitar, which lends itself to sweetness and beauty. I am gobsmacked by this man”s talent, however it seemed that each song became full on, loud and fast, and some topped up with mind blowing technically great”. stuff. Stuff like when Jazz muso”s might do things that don”t really convey much but are technically brilliant… or is it just me”

Now, on his website, the bio for this album does mention each story being of a relentless pace, so fair enough, it could just be the nature of this album. With as much talent as he has, I am sure he must have it in him, maybe just not that night. However, I must say I left just before encore (a bit rude I know), maybe he did a sweet number in my absence”

I”d recommend going to see him, but amongst the speed, maybe request a slow one. Plenty of people were well satisfied judging by their reactions.

Comments are closed.