Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Although I've seen Over the Rhine something like 10 times since 1991, their concert at the Revolution Room was the first time they played in my own home town (walking distance from my home, no less). They drew a good crowd for a Monday night and for a relatively unfamiliar band. From what I could judge most of the audience was familiar with the band's records if not their live performances. Almost as many were brought by friends to get a proper indoctrination. In either case, they were timid listeners. Most chose to sit on the ground some distance from the stage and most of the standers stood off slightly to the side so as not to block the sitters' view. That made for some uncomforably empty real estate directly in front of the stage, though the audience's boisterous reaction to each song seemingly crossed the distance. There were also some hipster douchebags talking loudly in the back by the bar (to whom Karin issued the warning: "you talkers out there, be warned. Our listeners don't take kindly... and they carry knives").
The band had a great night. They were in friendly territory, but they had a lot of new faces and a lot to prove too. I hadn't seen them play since the Ohio Tour in '03 and had nearly forgotten how soulful, even sensual their music becomes live. The jazzy, playful nature of The Trumpet Child became slower and more sultry on stage and built a real connection with the audience. The evening also brought highlights from Over The Rhine's past records Drunkard's Prayer, Ohio, and Good Dog Bad Dog (but, sadly, nothing from Films For Radio).
The set list, for those still reading: