Joseph Arthur has long been a favorite of KEXP listeners and DJs and most definitely ranks among the most visited in-studio guests at the station. Over the years, he’s performed solo acoustic, with a full band, and armed with guitar effects and loop pedals, but no matter what incarnation he appears in, Joseph can be relied on for achingly emotional delivery and powerful songwriting. During his seventh performance (at least) live on KEXP, Joseph Arthur filled the Triple Door’s stage with a bank of electronics, his guitars, and a white canvas propped on an easel surrounded by paint bottles and spray cans while playing a long set exclusively for members of KEXP’s VIP Club.
The eight songs spanned Joseph’s career, from his debut, Big City Secrets, to new ones he’s still working on for an upcoming album. But what made this performance truly special was the improvisational painting he did during “Crying Like a Man.” After laying down a beat and rhythm, Joseph started layering swaths of blue, red and black paint atop a rough sketch he made at the beginning of the set — all while continuing to sing! After the show, the painting was sold, as he’s doing after every show during this current tour, with proceeds going directly to support Haiti relief.