Live: John Vanderslice @ The Troubadour, 6.29.09

John Vanderslice
All photos by David Greenwald

Much like Wilco, I was supposed to see John Vanderslice for the first time back in 2004, but events (and rain) conspired to get in the way. So last night was my first jaunt with JV, and also like Wilco, he was worth the wait. John’s latest album, Romanian Names, is heavier on the keyboards, but his five-piece band offered a thorough overview of the sounds of his formidable discography. New songs such as “Tremble and Tear” and “D.I.A.L.O.” fit snugly next to past triumphs like “Tablespoon of Codeine” and “When It Hits My Blood,” and throughout, the songs surged with a rawness often absent from the musician’s meticulous recordings. He closed the set by bringing his band down to the floor and playing among the crowd — the sort of fan hug that continued when he walked to the merch table and, unprompted, offered to sign my girlfriend’s just-purchased vinyl.

Previously: First Look: John Vanderslice – Romanian Names