LIVE: JD McPherson @ the Hangar on the Hudson, 11/8/17
Review and photographs by Ed Conway
JD McPherson made a trip to Greater Nippertown soon after another of the band’s frequent appearances on “Conan” in support his latest album Undivided Heart & Soul. It’s hard to categorize McPherson’s music as it touches on several styles. I guess it would be easiest to say he plays guitar-based alt-rock with tinges of blues and rockabilly, but even that doesn’t capture the full picture.
Helping McPherson achieve his sound is a fantastic band, made up of upright bassist/electric bassist Jimmy Sutton, former Los Straitjackets drummer Jason Smay, keyboardist Ray Jacildo (who also made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with Dan Auerbach the following night) and guitarist/saxophone Doug Corcoran.
After wading through the sold out-crowd to stage at the Hangar on the Hudson in Troy, McPherson grabbed his custom TK Smith guitar and hit the opening strains to “Bossy” from his previous release, Let the Good Times Roll. In fact, they hit two more songs from the previous two albums, “Fire Bug” (Signs & Signifiers) and “It Shook Me Up,” before playing three in a row off the new album: “Desperate Love,” “Crying’s Just the Thing That You Do” and “Under the Spell of City Lights.” It was pretty much back and forth between the last two albums for the rest of the set, ending with the title track “Let The Good Times Roll.”
McPherson and band came back on stage for an extended encore of four songs beginning with “Style Is a Losing Game.” During “Wolf Teeth,” I’m not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but while repeating the phrase “don’t come up the light,” the stage lights went out only leaving the lights of the bar coolers as the only lights. The lights came back on, and the evening finished with “North Side Gal” from the first album.
Opening up the show was Arizona born solo singer-songwriter Dylan Pratt, continuing a trend I noticed from the last time I saw McPherson in Northampton, Mass. Pratt played fingerstyle guitar, in various tunings, while singing soulful Americana songs. The audience seemed to take to him right from the start, and it was hard not to enjoy his quiet, almost shy approach to his songs.
All in all, the latest visit by JD McPherson was a phenomenal success as this would be the fourth sold out show he has done at The Hangar in the last few years. Along with several appearances on “Conan,” his star is still on the rise with no ceiling in sight. He continues to churn out meaningful albums ever since the first time he wandered into producer Jimmy Sutton’s Hi-Style studios in Chicago.
Hopefully, there is a lot more to come.
JD McPHERSON SET LIST
It Shook Me Up
Crying Just the Thing That You Do
Under the Spell of City Lights
Head Over Heels
On the Lips
Hunting for Sugar
You Must Have Met Little Caroline
Mother of Lies
Undivided Heart & Soul
Let the Good Times Roll
Style (Is a Losing Game)
Blood Hound Rock
North Side Gal