Bumbershoot Music Lounge 2011, Saturday: Vetiver

photos by Dave Lichterman

The fifth Vetiver album The Errant Charm sounds like Andy Cabic has gotten past sanding down anything that would cause a splinter through the sacred-space mansion of sound he’s been constructing since leaving NC’s The Raymond Brake. Paraphrased as “naturalismo” by the heavy heads at Arthur Magazine, the conspiracy theory is that weed on the West Coast has just gotten very, very good. Cabic apparently crafted the quietly giddy but somewhat amorphous cloud-gems like “For Emotion,” “Soft Glass,” and “It’s Beyond Me” while strolling through the Richmond District in San Fran, soaking up the ghosts of bong blasts long gone by. If the Electric Eden milieu in the UK hadn’t been terrorized by the 70s economy and the competition of glam-then-punk, seamless dreaming like this would have been evident on even more odyssey-trekking LPs from that scene.

Vetiver followed Sub Pop label-mates Shabazz Palaces at the Music Lounge on Saturday, and lead man Andy Cabic’s easy-going, laid-back signing style was a marked change from the ferocious intensity of Shabazz’s Ishmael Butler. They began the performance, the first of an upcoming US tour, with the tender, appropriately-named folk tune “Rolling Sea,” and for the next few songs Cabic and company lulled the audience into a sweetened state of bliss. That was, until they dug deep for the emotionally scarred “You Might Be Blue.” Unlike the strolling-in-the-sun buoyance of their other songs, “You Might Be Blue” is pregnant with a darkened twang and a Western sense of loneliness. This was Vetiver’s longest song of the set, and included a lengthy Doors-esque jam, proving that they are fully capable of taking it up a notch. They followed “You Might Be Blue” with “Wonder Why,” the single from The Errant Charm, then closed out their Music Lounge performance with “Can’t You Tell.” Vetiver will be playing later today at the Fountain Lawn Stage at 6:45 PM before embarking on the rest of their US tour. For tour info, click here.

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