Notes from Jose Gonzalez, live at the Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO - 10/12/07
Dear Jose Gonzalez,
Frankly, I was rather amazed with your virtuosic solo performance last Friday night. Although I have seen few solo singer/songwriter types in the live setting, I imagine that your impressive guitar chops are hard to beat. As a non-guitarist, seeing you play live displayed your perfectionist brand of wizardry in a way that I can't sense on your recordings. While your albums tend to feel flat over their entirety, your live show had its share of ups and downs and amazing moments (like your stunning encore version of "Crosses"). What really comes across live is how your classical style of playing blends with your pop songwriting to find strong melodies and hooks within the intricate picking (see "Cycling Trivialities"). Your new album's tracks sounded just as great as the old, and your mid-set cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" provided the audience with the hum/sing-along they were waiting for.
Next time you visit, however, please don't make the audience wait an hour between the opener and yourself. You nearly had a riot on your hands.
P.S. I enjoyed your closing cover of the Smiths' "Love Will Tear Us Apart." It's melancholy lyrics match well with your own, although I'm sure you can make your transposition more intricate with time and practice.