Concert: Pete Yorn in Los Angeles
The prospect of a staged replay of a milestone album is normally the plot device of '80s retread tours looking to squeeze another victory lap out of a shed season, but in the hands of a still-creative young artist, the result is less sentimental and plenty vibrant.
At Los Angeles' Wiltern Theatre on Wednesday (4/6), Pete Yorn largely ignored his recent and quite good self-titled collection, devoting the vast majority of his set to a straight run-through of his first album, "Musicforthemorningafter," which was remastered and reissued last month as a deluxe collection with live versions of most of the tracks to commemorate the album's 10th anniversary.
Yorn opened the set with a California-ized cover of The Smiths' "Panic" ("There's panic in the streets of Los Angeles/ Dublin, Dundee, Echo Park"), which segued very effectively into "Precious Stone," from his self-titled album.
With "Precious Stone," the band fell right into full stride early, cutting a striking, classic garage-band look, back-lit in thick stage fog -- though it was about as dangerous as the band would get all evening, as the set quickly moved into the friendly and familiar.
"Musicforthemorningafter" holds up quite well, and while the material still breathes pretty effortlessly, it's Yorn's live interpretations of the songs that give them a new luster. He's simply a better singer than he was in 2001, and brings more to the table emotionally and as a bandleader and performer.
The easy elegance of "Strange Condition," the sad beauty of "Simonize," the toe-tapping gallop of "Life On A Chain" are each a highlight in themselves as written, but on Wednesday night, Yorn and band imbued them with new dynamics and colors.
As with the beginning of the show, Yorn padded the end with a few songs his catalog outside of "Musicforthemorningafter," wrapping up the night with the newer "Rock Crowd" and the older "Crystal Village." By this point, the crowd was so far into the palm of his hand that both songs were easy and instant sing-alongs.
The only real niggle with the show was that Yorn (or his house sound engineer) seems to favor a level of reverb in his vocals that makes it a bit hard to decipher some between-song stage patter. And when trotting out a "Storytellers" type of show, there's plenty of that patter to strain to hear when the music stops.
Don't Wanna Cry
I Feel Good Again
Life On A Chain
On Your Side
A Girl Like You
9 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
10 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
12 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
14 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
15 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
16 - Austin, TX - Stubb's
17 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
19 - New Orleans, LA - Howlin' Wolf
21 - Greenville, SC - The Handlebar
22 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
23 - Memphis, TN - New Daisy Thetre
25 - Birmingham, AL - Work Play Sound Stage
26 - Nashville, TN - Wildhorse