I finally went to a much-anticipated concert to watch Howie Day, live at The Showbox in downtown Seattle on the 9th of August. As mentioned earlier, an insanely hectic week meant that I was looking forward to the energy the concert would provide and I wasn't disappointed.
Opening act was Missy Higgins, apparently one of Australia's top singers right now. Amazing voice and great songwriting to complement the bare orchestration - just her on the piano(keyboard) and one guy on acoustic guitar. Her songs are now familiar to me, thanks to KCRW, and seeing her live was good fun. She was surprisingly down-to-earth, staying on to sign autographs and sell CDs with her crew. The crowd lapped it up, and her CDs sold briskly. Great numbers included 'Ten Days', 'Scar' , 'The Special Two' and 'All for Believing'. Her most beautiful verse?
I remember someone old once said to me:
"Lies will lock you up with truth the only key."
Howie Day has been touring with Anna Nalick, who was up next. Again, great voice, and interesting songs. Breathe (2AM) is her single doing the radio rounds right now, and she says it beautifully:
2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to
After the customary break, it was time for Howie Day himself. He started off with "Perfect Time of Day", a lovely, upbeat melody.
Since gaining fame, Howie has a full band and doesn't perform solo with only his set of pedals and delay and echo effects to burnish his singing and guitar playing. He did use them sparingly and to great effect this time though. However, all these years of touring has given his set a certain rigor. He is able to play a great set, yey maintain his spontaneity (his shows are generally different - he doesn't do exactly identical shows) and riff off the audience reaction. He did some great songs, including staples 'Ghosts', 'Sunday Morning Song' and 'Brace Yourself'. At least twice, he played the start of the Beatles' "Day Tripper", but he admitted that he and his band didn't know how to do the song, or they'd have done it.
Howie Day's strength IMO lies in the strong melodies he creates. There are people who like his songwriting, but I find it slightly (deliberately?) obscure, though enjoyable. His melodies are awesome though, and these are songs that you can hum or whistle along. They are also incredibly catchy, a fact proved by crowd favorite "Collide", the new song "Be There" and by the encore "Morning After". A great song was also the cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream Its Over".
All in all, an evening worth remembering.
It's the perfect time of day
It's the last day of your life
Dont let it drift away
While your heart is still racing...