The thursday before last my friend and I went to see Jose Gonzalez at the Factory Theatre in Enmore.
We’d never been to this venue before and it looked fairly new or recently renovated. Swanky place, plenty of space, relaxed vibe (which was just the mood we were in, since it was a midweek performance we were attending).
People bustled about, lay on the lounges lining the walls and sipped alcoholic beverages of sorts, waiting out the supporting act in anticipation of the real reason we’d all shown up: to see the Swedish folkster himself.
My friend and I took the chance to grab some seats in front of the stage, which were as cosy as the atmosphere.
Although we were only really interested in Jose, the supporting act were pretty good. I’d heard them before but I didn’t realise they were playing and wasn’t paying much attention. Overall they were a bit repetitive and meandering and I felt a bit “meh” about it as I sipped my L pound. Then the lead singer (who looked, to me, oddly like Andrew from Buffy) said “hi, we’re Rand and Holland” and my ears perked up for the next song.
The rest of their set was decent. Their songs aren’t all memorable but they know how to play and it seems to be a case of “less is more” with these guys. Either way, I’m always a little curious about experimental folk and over the set more and more of the crowd’s attention was drawn (either that or more people were turning up for Jose).
R & H left without a “thankyou,” “goodbye” or even are “We are Rand and Holland.” Maybe they were shy. Everyone clapped awkwardly, unsure of the exit.
Soon after, Jose came out quietly and sat down. My friend and I were already prepared for the nature of his performance (since he’s known for his introvertedness). He just started playing.
And man, the guy might be shy but his voice sure isn’t! It soared through the speakers so crisply and everyone seemed to draw their breath all at once in awe.
The percussion of the strumming on the acoustic guitar took rhythm and entranced us all.
New songs and old were all captivating.
It was nice to be at a performance where we could just sit and listen. I usually get a bit tired of artists who need excitement and jumping and jiving during their show. I usually prefer to absorb it all quietly. This time I didn’t stand out and look as stand-offish as I might in my stillness.
At one point two excited girls stood up, God love ’em. I immediately thought “uh oh, are we all gonna have to stand up now?” but luckily the majority were with me this time. “Are you guys gonna sit down…?” one punter behind them asked, and they embarrassedly sat back down, still hypnotised by Jose, and clinging to one another as if to prevent collapse.
Jose announced his “last song” before exiting. Much to our ammusement he couldn’t find the exit (cause it was through the curtains and there was no clear break in them).
Naturally he took a while to return for the encore. He bashfully said something along the lines of “I was gonna surprise you by making my way around but I couldn’t see… bumbling about in the dark…” Everyone briefly chuckled but cut themselves short, ready for his final few songs.
Out of the set I was pleasantly surprised to hear an acoustic version of “Send Someone Away” (the Embee song Jose contributed to a few years ago).
All in all it was a wonderful breathtaking performance and I can’t wait to see him again at Falls!