Concerts often make or break an artist for me, and my romance with Guster and drummer Brian Rosenworcel began on this day. My appreciation began with the first song that started with Brian standing behind a drum kit and he started wailing on his various percussive instruments with his hands and arms. He possesses a rhythmic flailing that every fan just has to experience. It was better than a fish tank for captivating and holding my attention. The amount of upper body strength and self-control to play percussion with your body and keep it up for two out of every three songs simply put me into a trance. He also, for the record, plays a standard drum kit, probably as much to give him a break as to change up their sound.
Guster was a tremendous. They harmonize, always a major plus (most notably present in Alice in Chains and Sister Hazel and Art Alexakis mostly with himself.) Their lyric and composition (self-referenced as wuss rock) and fiery showmanship put it all on stage and they weaved it together with precision. Hear to tell they’ve been performing together for about 8 years and I hope they stick it out long enough for me to call myself a longtime fan. Plus I’m fascinated that they went to college the same time I did and like made it (well, what am I doing? Yikes!) It’s more accessible than say, Tom Brady who also is my age and won two Superbowls but there was no chance I was ever going to do that (astigmatism and a distinct lack of athleticism that I can blame on my father.) And they went to Tufts, which means they’re smart. They mostly played locally to New England in previous years but now the word on them is out.
They opened their set with two hit songs (“hit” is a relative word, but work with me – both songs will be on the greatest hits package when they get there) and then did an awesome, unreal awesome cover of Talking Heads’ “(Nothing But) Flowers” that blew me away. All of the songs from their new album – “Careful” and “Ramona” among them – I was familiar with and it was great to be able to sing along even though I only bought the album last week and only because it was 9.99 and only because I had tickets to the show to begin with.
By the time they started into “Homecoming King,” with a “Funkytown” intro and an explanation of using the word “Massachusetts” in a song, I was hooked. The rest of the set was solid, with a few that will induce me to buy their back catalog (such as it is) including the show closer “Fa Fa.” You got it, you got it.
What You Wish For
(Nothing But) Flowers
Funkytown Intro/Homecoming King/Chariots of Fire (instrumental)
Barrel Of A Gun
Keep It Together