Over the last half-decade, Anders Osborne’s ascendancy from a veteran NOLA journeyman singer-songwriter to a powerhouse guitarist known by most has been a marvel to behold. Being from New Orleans, the overwhelming majority of Osborne shows I’ve witnessed have been in the comfort zone of the Crescent City, the hometown for the player where Anders is a household name. Seeing him play to a near packed house at the historic 9:30 Club in our nation’s capital was a special treat and Osborne certainly did not disappoint the Friday night crowd that made it out.
With a set design featuring a quartet of hanging guitar art tapestries designed by Anders himself, Osborne and Co. took the 9:30 Club stage around 10:30 pm after an opening set by Amy Helm. The setlist mixed material spanning Osborne’s illustrious and lengthy catalog and included his some of newest work (“Lafayette”), tunes from 2013’s Peace record (“Windows”), essential trustworthy jam vehicles (“Burnin’ On the Inside”) and a labyrinthine version of a Dead-draped tune from his recent collaboration with North Mississippi Allstars called “Dyin’ Days”.
Reviews from this tour have been overwhelmingly glowing and last night showed why, this five-piece plays well together and, while it is billed as “Anders Osborne”, each member took full advantage of their handful of moments in the spotlight and contributed as an integral part to the well-melded sound (on that note, the sound in 9:30 Club was fantastic last night, kudos to the crew for taking the time to lock things in prior to starting).
The “Dyin’ Days > Down by the River” segment (link to etree recording) will go down with a handful of standout Anders moments I’ve witnessed and, knowing 9:30 Club’s long history of playing host to numerous live album releases, one can hope a soundboard recording of this show and segment will be distributed for all to hear. It was a truly spectacular, supercharged and totally original segue where the familiar verses of the Neil Young classic seemingly appeared out of nowhere at the tail end of the suite after a poignant and disorienting jam segment.
Mixing the darker, more psychedelic fare with the light as Osborne does about as well as any artist, the “Life Is Strange > When The Saints Go Marching In” was the other side of the coin from the aforementioned “Dyin Days” segment, a good time glimpse of NOLA’s funky side, surely appreciated by those in the DC crowd who frequent the Big Easy.
All in all, it was probably just another night for the boys on a tour of deservedly larger venues than ever before and indicative of the fact that the world at large is starting to take notice of Osborne’s prowess on a level commensurate with his totally stunning wealth of talent and unique worldview dotting his lyrics.
Setlist: Pleasing You Echoes of My Sins Dyin’ Days > Down by the River Georgia (Take Me Home) Can You Still Hear Me? Burnin’ on the Inside Move Back to Mississippi > Ponchartrain > Had My Reasons Lafayette Windows Life is Strange > When the Saints Go Marching In Trippin In Montana
Back On Dumaine
Band (with Anders’ on-stage introductions from the show in parentheses): Anders Osborne: guitar, vocals Carl Dufrene: bass, vocals (“plays for Phish”) Brady Blade: drums. (“plays for Emmylou Harris”) Eric McFadden: guitar (“plays for Black Sabbath” Danny Eisenberg: keys (“met through Phil Lesh”)