Last night, despite being desperately tired from an early (and very hot) summer night, Gemma and I went to see the magnificent Silver Jews play at Apolo.
On arrival at the club, there were about three other non-staff members present. Soon a group of six or or so walked in and sat by our table. Oh, it was David Berman, Cassie Berman and the rest of the Silver Jews. I wanted to go up to them and say something but I felt the blush/sad fan reflex coming on strong, so I stayed seated.
Support band, Extraperlo, named the Joos as one of their major influences. I didn’t feel that this was much in evidence through their set. I liked a couple of their songs but really they lacked any charisma or energy. In a year or two they could be great but they weren’t that night.
After an interminable wait for the main event to come on (it’s a small stage), the band shambled into view. A couple had been onstage for the vague soundcheck they went through but the cheers were reserved for when David stepped up to the mike.
From here, we enter the “oh shit, what was the setlist” stage. I’ll probably be able to piece it together later. I can say that they definitely played ‘Random Rules’, ‘Smith And Jones Forever’, ‘Time Will Break The World’, ‘Pet Politics’, ‘Black And Brown Blues’, ‘Sometimes A Pony Gets Depressed’, ‘Punks In The Beerlight’, ‘Animal Shapes’ and a personal favourite, ‘Wild Kindness’. There were other songs, all of them good… I just can’t be sure about which ones they were.
As opposed to reviews I’d read of the American shows in this, their first tour in 15 years, Silver Jews presented an extremely tight set. That is to say, there was no sign of the nerves, shyness or forgetfulness reported of their frontman. David Berman seemed confident and cheerful, joking with the crowd and dedicating a song to one of Gemma’s old uni pals, Marta (who, it turns out, is some kind of super-fan!). The crowd wasn’t huge, so he promised to shake hands with each of us after the show.
And he did! After an encore call which was louder than I’ve seen at concerts with 10 times the audience, Silver Jews played only one final number (will they ever play ‘Tennessee’??) and then David stepped down off the stage and came to speak to his fans. This act, as much as an amazing show, made sure that everyone present left with a Cheshire Cat grin on their face. I told David that after waiting 15 years for the first tour, they had to do another very soon. He promised that they’d be back, so those of you too fatigued by Football abuse (as to today, I’ve never seen a team foul so much and get away with it) – make sure that you keep a minimum of 4oâ‚¬ in your account at all times. 20 for the ticket, and 20 for the obscenely priced beer.
Silver Jews live at Pocketclub (Sala Apolo, Barcelona):
1 out of 1