March 20, 2009

Elvis Perkins, midnight church, and redemption

Elvis Perkins just restored in my faith in the hot-blooded beating heart of music, in a cavernous church sanctuary in the middle of Austin tonight.

Playing a midnight set with his impassioned band Dearland, he left me reeling in the front pew as he wailed and pounded and jangled through his heartbreaking song catalog. I had never seen Perkins before and even though my feet are aching and holy mackerel have I seen a lot of music these past two days, Perkins stripped away all the jaded varnish on my ears with one of the most real, brilliant shows I have ever seen.

The whole set sounded incredible, reverberating off the arched walls and stained glass windows, but the last two songs knocked me flat. “While You Were Sleeping” is one of the most beautifully honest and aching songs I’ve ever heard, and when he sang the lines about “while you were sleeping the babies grew, the stars shined and the shadows moved….time flew, the phone rang, there was a silence when the kitchen sang…,” I started crying pretty embarrassingly honestly in the front row. But by the time he moved on to the next and final song, “Doomsday,” it was like redemption. All eight or so of the musicians, the brass section and the giant marching-band drum guy, all poured off the stage into the front of the church, dancing and kicking and hollering and raising their instruments to the arches. People were dancing in the aisles to the thump of the giant bass drum and I swear I’ve not felt like that in a long time.






Perkins comes to Denver May 8th and a bunch of other places in the coming months. Please go.

NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday (thank you Bob!)

[my camera….well, I might have dropped it in the bathroom, and my good lens just might be in four pieces. I don’t want to talk about it. I resorted to flash + daytime lens. Sigh]

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  • As always, great write up. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Houston in May.

    J — March 20, 2009 @ 5:42 am

  • That woulda been some sweet sweetness, right there. In a near parallel world, I played “Doomsday” on my radio show last night. With the time difference, you could have very well been seeing it live about the time I was hearing the horns over this way. That’s some beauty.

    Dainon — March 20, 2009 @ 7:03 am

  • the first time I heard “while you were sleeping” I was driving home… i felt dizzy, near crying, numb. I knew i had stumbled into a great artist. thanks for the write up.

    heath — March 20, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  • I’m so jealous of you! I just recently got into him. Now I’m contemplating a road trip to see him play in May…

    barbara — March 20, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  • There was just a moving story about him on NPR the other morning. His father died when he was young, and then his mother died on one of the planes on 9/11. It’s a great story that you should listen to – I had never heard of him but was very moved by his story, his music, and what it all meant.

    Kristy — March 20, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  • I saw Elvis Perkins open for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah two years ago. I was sooo blown away!! So much heartfelt energy. I am glad they finally got those songs I heard on an album. In Dearland is one of my favorites for far. Did they break out the harmonium?

    tyler — March 21, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  • [...] Posted originally on I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. [...]

    Elvis Perkins, midnight church, and redemption - Twangville — March 21, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

  • The first time I heard the song — well over a year ago — I just knew this boy was on a first name basis with tragedy. Six minutes of heart wrenching story telling.

    Did you know his father was THE Anthony Perkins?

    And yes, any performance in a house of worship adds to the specialness.

    mary — March 21, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  • I’m trying to remember what I was doing at this time on this day at SXSW last week.
    I’m sure it wasn’t as good as this.

    About mistakes…I’ve made a few…

    ward — March 28, 2009 @ 7:41 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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