M. Ward at the Fox Oakland, 5/16/09

by Caroline Hernandez on May 22, 2009

M.Ward considers what exactly to do with the pieces of a broken heart. Might I suggest composting?

M.Ward considers what exactly to do with the pieces of a broken heart. Might I suggest composting?

Dear M. Ward,

I went to your show this weekend at the Fox, and I have to be honest with you, I was a little apprehensive about seeing you again. The first time I saw you was in Brooklyn a few years ago (or at least long enough for me to forget the name of the venue). I had just started to listen to End of Amnesia after discovering Transistor Radio, and I was completely enamored of what I heard.  There was no song that could do wrong on either album. I enjoyed the dark moodiness of your songs dispersed by charming tract about inanimate objects, and instrumentals.  The show was equally compelling, especially when guest star Jim James came onstage to lend a hand.

It’s hard to top such an exciting show that manifested all my warm fuzzy feelings of the time.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand. Saturday night’s show at the Fox. The opening band, Richmond Fontaine,  was what I thought of as “a poor man’s Whiskeytown” complete with a Ryan Adams look-a-like but without the onstage bravado (I apologize if they are friends of yours).

Your set started off with “Chinese Translation.”  However, as I quickly discovered, this wasn’t going to be as simple as you and your acoustic guitar. There was a formidable 4-piece band behind you creating a very Rock-N-Roll sound, twang included. And while the Rock aspect was fun, and fitting for the venue, I did find myself yearning for those morose songs you sing so well. This is why when the band left the stage midway through your set, there was a mutual feeling shared between myself and the crowd.

No buts about it: there’s nothing wimpy about playing the acoustic guitar when it’s in your hands. When “Fuel for Fire” started, those fuzzy feelings began to resurface and continued through “Rollercoaster”. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and I have to tell you, your new version of “Helicopter” upset me a bit. As one of my favorite songs, I didn’t appreciate the uptempo and the vocal variation in the chorus. Please keep that in mind, as your tour progresses. You might have to change that.

Also, if you decided to make your show lively and upbeat, I would suggest adding “Flamming Heart” to the setlist and ending with that instead of “Big Boat”.

Regardless of my gripes, I was satisfied with the show, and it made me realize how much I had missed you. I hope the rest of your tour fares well, and perhaps maybe you’ll consider some of my comments.

Take Care,


Read Also:

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: