Magnolia Electric Co at The Echo

The Echo is an unfortunate venue (sorry Courtney). It holds about 250 people but only 25 of them can actually see the stage. The little hallway in front of the stage gets congested and you’d *like* to stand off to the right side where there’s space and booths and all that, but if you do you may as well be watching the show on TV, the sound is worse than listening through a little TV speaker.

The problem is that The Echo books great lineups. I used to get tricked into going there all the time. After going to see Fiery Furnaces and Ted Leo there a couple years ago I unsubscribed from their mailing list because I didn’t want to get suckered into it again. I’ve passed up some good gigs there, just because of the venue.

But when I saw Magnolia Electric Co was coming I bit the bullet and bought two tickets. That was months ago. Show was finally last night.

Julie and I timed it pretty well, arrived around 11, just before they went on. Of course that means the little hallway is already full, though, so we took a spot at the back of the hallway — I could kinda see, Julie couldn’t see at all. Julie’s pretty resourceful, and soon she’d joined some other women standing on the boxes in front of the sound booth. She’d found a decent place to see from, actually.

Jason Molina and the band were incredible. Jason is a short, balding man with a furrowed brow, singing every song with sincere concern. His voice is incredible and his guitar playing inspired. The rest of the band is top-notch. Excellent rhythm section really holding it down, plus a lap-steel guitar, rhodes player, and second guitar. Seeing them really is like seeing a more-legit Will Oldham backed by Crazy Horse. You get the feeling you could record/release every show and it’d sound amazing.

So even the shitty room couldn’t ruin Magnolia Electric Co.

If you’re not familiar with them, start with the Songs: Ohia record of the same name, then pick up the live Magnolia Electric Co release, then the new non-live one.

Have a good weekend. We’re off to an 11:30am wedding…

ian