Silence Is Easy Tour
Boulder, Colorado, USA
31 January 2004
"I turn to you and I say, 'Thank goodness
for the good souls that make life better.'
I turn to you and I say, 'If it wasn't for the good souls, life would not matter.'
I turn to you and I say, 'You're messing with a good heart. You've gotta take what's due.'"
- Good Souls, Starsailor
Two weeks ago, David Bowie conquered Denver with a sold-out show at the Fillmore Auditorium. That his show sold out in less than an hour was a no-brainer.
At the other end of the spectrum, though, is another British act, one called Starsailor. They're good. Damn good. A couple years ago they released one of Mattopia's anthems, Good Souls. But their show played to a small crowd last night at the already diminutive Fox Theatre. As such, it offered the opportunity to rest that pint of Guinness right on the stage, until security quickly tapped me on the back and encouraged me to use the bar level, just below the stage. Stage-tapping is where it's at!
Nonetheless, they put on a great
show, one that started with Matthew Ryan, a fine opening act whose music
makes me want to use the words
"useful" and "elegant" for some reason. His music is
on the mellow side, but full of hope.
It was one of those evenings where everything fit together nicely, never mind the foul conditions outside, with Boulder under a blanket of snow and traffic on 36 moving at a relative crawl.
It was a night where even the opening band shined brightly. Ryan joked about playing a song off his second album, a little thing he wrote called The Joshua Tree. (His third album, by the way, was called The Unforgettable Fire. He's also the mastermind behind Rubber Soul. If you don't see the humor in that... Well, Britney Spears is coming next month just for you.)
Ryan's back up included a guitarist, Brian, whose skull was wrapped under a knit cap; oddly reminiscent of The Edge in appearance, he's also got some brains behind him, as he divulged during some friendly banter that he's a retired college professor. (Chatting with Brian after the show proved his brightness; he used to be a professor of literature - and a basketball coach.)
Given the opportunity to speak Matt-to-Matt, I was pleased to hear Matt compliment my energy. He was truly appreciative; at some shows, he commented, people just sit there and look down. I was right there for him, though. He was equally struck when I presented his new CD, Regret Over the Wires, for autographing.
His note was so Mattopian: "Matt, The future is now! Matt."
As for Starsailor, they were incredible and their performance ratcheted up their standing among my favorite bands. James Walsh, the lead singer, was extremely cordial and pleasant, at first apologizing on behalf of the band for the nasty weather they brought with them and then going on to gush how one of his songs was used earlier in the day by a band on a British TV show, an amateur talent show that's on par with Top of the Pops in terms of popularity. He made the witty observation that, with that one TV appearance, more people have seen his impersonator than the real James Walsh.
Even with their relative anonymity, the band caught the ear of Phil Spector, the legendary and reclusive record producer who transformed popular music with his Wall of Sound back in the '60s. Although his eccentricities are as expansive as his talent, he was able to crank out two tracks on their new album, the title song, Silence Is Easy, and White Dove. (No need to mention the murder charges being leveled against Spector. That's another story altogether.)
While Ryan made jokey references to U2 and The Beatles, Starsailor divulged one of their mutual influences when Walsh ripped out a verse from All I Want Is You.
The set featured a mix from both Starsailor's new album and their debut release, Love is Here. Among the highlights were Alcoholic, Fever, Lullaby, Music Was Saved, Silence Is Easy, Shark Food, Four to the Floor (introduced by Walsh as a "disco song"), Born Again, and an excellent rendition of Good Souls to close the show.
We were a small crowd, but as Walsh noted, we made a lot of noise. He even mimicked my scream, one that I'd have to be back in such a situation to reproduce. My contribution to the noise factor was in part egged on by a girl next to me who continually screamed out how "we" loved them. She also served as "finger model" in one of the photos in the Mobile Starsailor photo gallery.
Like Ryan's, Starsailor's music is uplifting and perpetually optimistic. They're a band that deserves a much broader audience than has latched on so far. But, for those of us in the know, that made last night all the more a treat.