PHOTOS / REVIEW: The Barr Brothers / Quebec in Hollywood @ El Rey Theatre, LA 9/21/11

Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I’m a sucker for anything Brad Barr. If he owned a diner — I’d let him cook me breakfast. If he drove a bus, I’d be the first one on board. The appreciation for his work goes back to 2001 when I first saw The Slip play Boston, but it really blossomed in 2006 when our group made the trek to California’s best kept secret – High Sierra. Little did I know that the festival was basically a one-stop shop for everything Barr related. Surprise Me Mr. Davis, The Slip, solo workshops, stealth sets at Camp Harry. You name it. The four day festival featured so much of his trusty green guitar, I got spoiled early on. The July 4th weekend was my fix for the year. But unfortunately in 2011, Brad and Co. took a break from Quincy, CA for the first time in 10+ years! As fate would have it, I also had to skip this year’s festivities. It was weird not knowing when I’d see and hear their music again.

So when The Barr Brothers decided to join the lineup of “Quebec in Hollywood” for a one-off trip to Los Angeles — I was front and center. Their opening set would start promptly at 8pm and folks were still migrating in — figuring out this show wouldn’t be sold out — Come to the front! The band started off with the first track on the album due out September 27th, with Beggar in the Morning. It’s slow dissonant instrumental build was the perfect way to start the show and the line “I think I’ve come a long long way — to sit before you here today” felt just right. It’s certainly a trek from Montreal and the NYC area where the band seems to be focusing their energy lately. Old Mythologies followed before Brad put away his acoustic and picked up his electric for Give the Devil Back his Heart. A song I’ve seen performed a few times now in different incarnations was easily the highlight of their short set. It gave Brad and his brother Andrew time to shine and show just how much sound can truly be exported from their instruments. The song really rolls off the stage with a rock n’ roll gusto that some in the audience were not prepared for seeing how the two songs before were slower acoustic numbers. Andrew’s meticulous slow beats and Brad’s rock riffs are something one can only admire — “well they’re brothers, they SHOULD sound that good together, right?”

Before I knew it, the 35 minute set was over and they had to make way for the three other bands playing that night, Malajube, The Besnard Lakes, and Patrick Watson. I shot some photos towards the beginning of the night and despite a few lighting issues that were most likely my amature-esque fault, got a few decent ones. The band now heads back East to Montreal for their album release on September 27th and then tours throughout October. Brad and Andrew will also be taking part in this year’s JamCruise 10 as part of Surprise Me Mr. Davis in January 2012. Let’s hope that’s not the only performances in 2012 for these guys. The Slip hasn’t had a new album since 2006, meaning they are past due and racking up late fees!

Update: the band just announced a set of fall tour dates following up their album release. Go here for the dates…