Zammuto at the McGuire Theater, 11/10/12
Nick then gave a nod to his musical past, as the group delved into the Books catalog for "That Right Ain't Shit," and "Classy Penguin," which Mikey wrote a long time ago. To echo that sentiment, endearing home video footage of Nick and Mikey played behind the band, giving the track a warm, personal touch. Before the main set came to an end, Nick took another moment to sincerely thank the Art Center, "Let's hear it for the Walker, there's no other place like this," while also encouraging all of us to go see the Cindy Sherman exhibit. They closed with a rousing cover of "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic," playing along with an instructional video of a man playing the patriotic track on an autoharp. Somehow, strangely, it all worked, and the crowd rose to their feet in appreciative applause.
After the briefest of breaks, the band returned for a two-song encore which featured the wildly inventive "Weird Ceiling," before closing with a stark, stripped-down version of the Books' "Smells Like Content." The group took a well-earned bow as the second standing ovation of the night saw them off, sadly without playing their cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," which they've been playing regularly on this tour. While Nick has taken his sound in a different, more straightforward, direction with Zammuto, his sonic inventiveness and genial personality still shines through in both his music and his engaging live show, and that winning combination is what ultimately made this performance so memorable.
Personal Bias: I loved the Books since the moment I heard The Lemon of Pink. And as Nick's sound has evolved over the years, I've been willfully following right along, and will continue to do so.
The Crowd: A nearly full-house packed with old-school fans of the Books, and people just curious to catch a show at the Walker on a Saturday night.
Overheard In The Crowd: "I can't believe how many different pictures of Zebra butts they have."
Random Notebook Dump: Eluvium, the sonic brainchild of Matthew Cooper, opened the evening with a lovely set full of atmospheric, understated songs. His mainly instrumental material was built around ambient electronic effects, but had a real soulful, pensive quality to them that perfectly set the stage for the headliner.
Groan Man, Don't Cry
The Shape Of Things To Come
To Late To Topologize
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon)
That Right Ain't Shit (The Books)
Classy Penguin (The Books)
Battle Hymn Of The Republic (Julia Ward Howe)
Weird Ceiling (Encore)
Smells Like Content (The Books)(Encore)
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