review by Jim Beckmann
Joseph Arthur‘s exquisite stripped down set during his recent in-studio at KEXP just wasn’t enough for us. We had to bring him back for the 6th Annual KEXP BBQ — this time, though, with his full band, The Lonely Astronauts — which seems only fitting for an artist as prolific as Arthur (with four EP’s and a full length just this year!).
Performing the last slot before twilight, and starting under a brilliant double rainbow, Joseph Arthur and The Loney Astronauts made the most of their short set by focusing on the highlights from the forthcoming album, Temporary People. The crowd certainly didn’t seem to mind the new material and bobbed and waved energetically, while the band played the rollicking title song to the new album; a jangling rendition of “Faith” (not the George Michael song!); the fittingly melancholy “Say Goodbye”, dedicated to the “late great Bernie Mac”; and, perhaps a highlight for many listeners, the groovingly Dylan-esque “Dead Savior” (which we’ve offered earlier as a Song of the Day podcast). Joseph Arthur fans were rewarded with more familiar favorites sprinkled throughout, including “Slide Away,” “Too Much to Hide,” and “Enough to Get Away.”
The band themselves seemed equally pleased, even while the skies continued to darken. On stage, guitarist Kraig Johnson grinned continually, and drummer Greg “G. Wiz” Wieczorek, who was serenaded by the crowd with a round of “Happy Birthday”, was a blur of hair, teeth and sticks as he drove the songs forward from behind the kit, but it was Sibyl Buck, on bass, who bounced, spun, and danced so giddily that just the sight of her made you smile.
By the time Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts signed off with the apropos “Spacemen,” night had fallen and the audience was fully prepared for the otherworldly Dandy Warhols.