Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gentleman Jesse & His Men / Dex Romweber Duo at the Trotter Building - 11/6/2009

Gentleman Jesse & His Men
with Dex Romweber Duo (Troika Festival)
Trotter Building

I was excited about the number of good shows being offered at this year's Troika Festival, but the down side of so many high quality entertainment options is you have to miss something. I had completely different plans scheduled this evening - Pipe at the Broad Street Cafe - until I noticed a late addition to the schedule, Atlanta's Gentleman Jesse & His Men. This band of pop savants recorded my favorite record of 2008; this combined with first-hand knowledge that they put on a fantastic performance and there was no way I was going to miss this gig.

Hammer No More the Fingers were finishing their set when I walked in - it was the typical scene for them, the room brimming with a bunch of kids going nuts over every note the band makes. They sound better every time I see them, but I'm not quite at that level of fanaticism. And no sooner than when Hammer finished their set, the entire place emptied outside of a couple dozen stragglers and two or three die-hard Gentleman Jesse fans (I'm including myself in these numbers). But they rocked it out regardless, not letting the lackluster attendance dampen their ability to deliver some of the catchiest pop music of the last few years. They performed the bulk of their Self-Titled album as well as a handful of new songs that I eagerly await being released in the (hopefully) near future. Be there five or five hundred fans, I'm always going to be front and center for a Gentleman Jesse show, and all those folks who left early really did themselves, especially their ears, a disservice.

Despite my drooping eyelids, I made myself stick around for part of the Dex Romweber Duo set. Of course I've known the man's work with Flat Duo Jets for about half of my life, though I never managed to see them live. Simple put, the man is a virtuoso, a real pleasure to watch perform. He has a strong voice and his sister does a fine job on the drums, but if you're like me you spend the entire time watching his hands move across that guitar. He was playing an old beat up Silvertone, making it sing like a bird; I point out the make of the guitar because I actually own a Silvertone and that thing goes out of tune if you just think about playing it. I'm not sure how or what he did to the thing, but Dex made the guitar sound like the finest instrument known to man in his hands. He's the kind of musician that even if you're not crazy about the way his songs sound, you'd still enjoy his live performance.

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