Concert review: Joe Henry (6/27/2014)

Joe Henry and his gorgeous custom-built guitar.

Joe Henry and his gorgeous custom-built guitar.

Yep. Joe Henry at Brighton Music Hall. I was, by any measure, unreasonably excited about this show. I keep a concert calendar with a list of dates, names and venues with a note about whether I have or need to buy tickets, and this entry read: ZOMG JOE HENRY IN BOSTON!!! Poking a little fun at my own excitement, of course, but I’m pretty sure I was the first person to buy a ticket and I was definitely the first person to arrive at the venue (but that was mostly because Brighton Music Hall tweeted the wrong door/set time for the show and I got there an hour earlier than intended). I actually went and lurked across the street to watch the door because I was afraid they would think I was a stalker if I got in line that early. When I saw some other people start waiting in line I went over and joined them. This worked out well, because those other people in line turned out to be really nice and we spent the next 75 minutes or so chatting about music until the show started.

I’d just been at this same venue two nights earlier for Jolie Holland (see my previous blog post), so I was surprised to see that they’d set out chairs – I’ve been there a bunch of times and I didn’t even know they did seated concerts. Joe Henry’s music is definitely sitting-down music and not standing-and-dancing music, so I was happy to see that. Plus it was a week where I managed to see four concerts in three states while also working full-time, so I was just plain tired and happy to be sitting.

The concert had been advertised as a solo set, although I suspected that (more…)

Concert review: Joe Henry in Ghent (6/10/2014)

Concert Manic’s most famous Belgian correspondent, Bjorn Weynants, is back with another excellent guest post! Many of my music-loving European friends have been catching shows on Joe Henry’s current tour, and their reports are making me really look forward to seeing his concert here in Boston in a few weeks. Have a listen to one of the songs from his brand-new album, Invisible Hour, while you read. – Sarah V.

Joe Henry is the not the kind of artist who tours regularly. The fact that he planned a massive European tour (at least massive to Joe Henry’s norms: only 12 dates, from Sevilla in the south of Spain to Bergen in Norway) with a stop in Ghent, Belgium is big news for his fans. His last Belgian concert was in 2007 (in the same venue as tonight’s show), as his Brussels gig two years ago was suddenly cancelled for undisclosed reasons.

The Handelsbeurs is a beautifully converted 19th century Trade Hall building in the centre of Ghent, which has been used for concerts for the past 10 years or so. (They have a rather Concertmanic-friendly programming as e.g. Ceramic Dog played here last April.) For this concert chairs were put around tables, giving the concert hall the feel of some kind of smoke-filled New York jazz club in the fifties. An ideal setting for a Joe Henry concert.

Joe Henry just released his 13th solo album, the excellent Invisible Hour. Just like his previous albums, it’s one that only discloses its full beauty after repeated listens. Add to that way-better-than-average lyrics and the result is that this is an album which will score very high on end-of-year lists (or at least it will on mine). Unfortunately, this is the kind of music that you won’t hear on the radio, as his music sits somewhere in the no-man’s land between folk, blues and jazz. And that’s a place not a lot of people (let alone your average radio DJ) venture into. While he is one of the great singer-songwriters of the last twenty years (and a great producer as well), the best known fact about him is that he’s the brother-in-law of (more…)