Back in the early 2000s when I first discovered what would become this blog's primary obsession (indie rock), one of the first underground bands with a weird name that I began to follow was Pedro the Lion. A devout Christian writing song/parables about religion and violence and drug abuse and greed and hate and pretty much all the deadly sins. Sort of an acquired taste one would say but I was a fan. David Bazan was Pedro the Lion for all intents and purposes and he gave up the moniker in 2006 and decided to go out on his own, even though it was largely his band, and sadly, after a breathtaking first solo release that revealed his long struggle with his Christianity (which he disavows on the album), the rest of his solo work hasn't had quite the emotional impact for me as the Pedro the Lion records. But Bazan is breaking out the old tracks for a tour this fall, in accordance with a re-release of remastered vinyl versions of his old records -- or at least 2002's Control, which he played in its entirety last week at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. He had a drummer and a bassist behind him that he's been touring with for a while on his solo outings but even though he introduced them multiple times I don't remember their names. Nor did I recognize all the solo efforts he interspersed between the track-by-track playing of the songs from Control. But the whole concert was tremendous. And no, unfortunately, he didn't play anything from the Whole EP, which is my favorite Pedro the Lion record. But he did play "Transcontinental", my favorite track from his final Pedro album Achilles Heel, and it was just as stunning live as I imagined. As for the Control tracks, the entire album sounded really great live. He played the first 5 tracks, then mixed in the Bazan and Pedro songs, then the final 5 tracks. The first 5 are the highlights of the album for me, so starting the concert out of the gate with "Options," "Rapture," and then scorching "Penetration" definitely lifted things to a wonderful level that was difficult to match for the rest of the concert. But when "Second Best" came on near the end (it's the 8th track on the album), the entire crowd started singing along and that had to be the highlight of the concert for me. He didn't play an encore and despite repeated requests from the crowd for "Big Trucks", that song did not appear. He did however take multiple questions from the audience, almost in Q&A fashion, and while I couldn't quite hear all the questions, the responses were pretty damn funny. And it was a pretty damn great concert.
I did record almost the entirety of "Rapture" but the recording came out completely fuzzy and muted for some reason (the video portion). I can't figure out this damn iPhone video stuff. I will try to post if I manage to clean up the video somehow so check back. For now, here's a couple songs they played and a video from some other concert I wasn't actually at. The pictures are from the Billyburg show though.