Review: Anders Osborne Tears Up The Bowl

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Anders Osborne @ Brooklyn Bowl – December 21

Words: Chad Berndtson
Photos: Jeremy Gordon

Ultimately, Anders Osborne always sounds like himself. But as far as rock-history comparisons are ever useful, the one I keep coming back to is vintage Crazy Horse era Neil Young, where you’re not only getting the eardrum-shattering, brain-exploding guitar squall you came for but there’s also the sense of portent and foreboding, ever-present no matter how sweet or gentle the song appears. Anders writes heavy songs, tender songs, gutsy songs and sentimental songs, and your only guarantee is that each will be completely presented — merely playing or lightly jamming is never enough for his passionate, tortured soul — as an exhaustively potent workout.

[All Photos by Jeremy Gordon]

It was nice to see Osborne back for a full-on New York show, particularly after he bagged last month’s HeadCount finale at the last minute. Better yet, it was two shows — I caught the blistering first — and a completely different setlist each night, with the emphasis balanced between Anders staples and a sampling of new material and bustout covers.

Night one, overall, was by Anders standards a workmanlike two hours, adequately awesome, with the expected mix of black-chaos drug rockers and soulful, “we’re going to make it after all” kindnesses. Bassist Carl Dufresne and drummer Eric Bolivar are an effective rhythmic chassis, equally as patient with Anders as they are willing to indulge his many, roaring guitar flights. The ubiquitous Scott Metzger played the whole show as guitar foil, though Metzger as a guest musician was, as usual, respectful, content with a support function unless specifically egged on by Anders to shred a bit.


That’s the thing about Anders; so magnetic is he as both a stage presence and guitarist that even equal-footing guest musicians spend as much time orbiting him as they do participating in a jam. But it was still fun to watch the band expand as the music hit its stride about an hour in. JeConte, the NorCal/NoLa-style rocker with whom Anders has collaborated much in the past year, blew crisp harp on Jealous Love, and the ever-sturdy Jamie McLean put the axe-slinger count at three for a blowout Franklin’s Tower.

Brooklyn Bowl, 12/21/12

Send Me A Friend, Ya Ya, Boxes Bills and Pain, Lean On Me/I Believe In You, I’ve Got Your Heart > I Got a Woman, Mind of a Junkie, Back on Dumaine, The Road to Charlie Parker, Jealous Love*, Franklin’s Tower*#

E: Pleasin’ You > Stoned Drunk and Naked^, Summertime In New Orleans

Entire show with Scott Metzger, guitar

* w/JaConte, harmonica

# w/Jamie McLean, guitar

^ w/Bobby (?), guitar

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