100 Shows of 2010 - #55: Thieving Irons @ DC9, 8/23/10

It’s rather amusing that of all the t-shirts in my closet, the Pela shirt is the one I ended up wearing today. You see, friends, this here #55 show involves ¼ of Pela, pets emeritus of LET. After the band’s demise, guitarist Nate Martinez (otherwise known as one of my most favorite people around) couldn’t shake the itch, and continued work on stuff he’d had floating around in his head. The result was an album’s worth of awesome, also known as This Midnight Hum (which you should definitely buy). And to properly welcome the record into the world, Nate and his conglomeration of rad cohorts got themselves down to DC for their first ever live show. And what a show it was. Thieving Irons has definitely adapted the Pela tradition of great music, great live performances, and just being plain ole great.

MINI RECAP: Thieving Irons = First-time Charmers! Overall score: A.

Lee Hazelwood was soundtracking the soundcheck, so I knew that obviously good things were to come. It didn’t take long to prove me right. Starting with “Ashes On The Riverbank”, which reminded me how much I’d missed Nate’s deft guitar playing and ever-so likeable stage presence. I didn’t expect the comparison that began to form in my mind during this first song, but Nate’s voice kinda sorta reminded me of The Boss, minus the Jersey and a lot of the gravel. But the earnestness, the emotion, that’s the crux. So Boss Junior he shall be. The songs, with their scope and composition, dove into E Street Band territory here and there. It all felt rather special, I must say.

“I Can Hear a Pin Drop” was next, another fine musical display that really showed off Nate’s songwriting chops (a particular favorite: “I am a coward in my own skin”). The goodness lasted for the entire set, the songs given added weight and depth by the multi-awesome Mike Brown, who took turns on banjo, guitar, lap steel, and the occasional note on the keys. The ethereal shimmer of the steel, for instance, added even more of a dream-like quality to the sensational “Wave’s Gonna Break”. Nate’s voice proved endearingly vulnerable during several songs, but this one in particular. “On The Horizon” featured one of my favorite lines by just about anyone in “It’s too cold to shiver,” and it was during this song that I noted that this could very well be on of those shows I gloat about having been present at years from now.

“Pale Blue Dots” for some reason conjured up Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”, though less obviously hormonal. To me, it was the sound of sultry nights, fire escapes, and hazy rings surrounding a muggy moon. It was during “Babylon Is Burning” that I realized my foot hadn’t stopped tapping all night, and that was the set’s tenth song. And it should be noted that while a shout-out from the stage doesn’t automatically guarantee a good review, it sure doesn’t hurt. “These Shaking Walls” and “Tow The Line” finished up the show, and both were splendid.

It’s a good thing I didn’t envision doing anything other than totally loving the Thieving Irons live experience. I hereby decree that Thieving Irons should be recommended listening as a part of your musical diet, and that seeing this band live will do wonders for your soul. Come on in, y’all, the bandwagon’s fine. Pull up a seat right here next to me.

mp3: Ashes On The Riverbank (Thieving Irons from This Midnight Hum)


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