Thursday night, Joseph Arthur made a low key appearance at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. Only his die hard followers even knew about this practically unannounced show. Fortunately, New Jersey is not only filled with Tony Soprano’s family, but also with Joseph Arthur fans. As one of these fans myself, last night's solo performance was an absolute treat.
Joseph's set consisted mainly of new material from his upcoming release, Our Shadows Will Remain. Even before he took the stage, you could tell by the sheer amount of equipment on the stage that we were in for a unique sonic experience. Multiple samplers, effects pedals, two microphones, and one acoustic guitar ended up all being used together to create the backbone for his performance. His one man show involves Joseph recording multiple loops performed live, as he builds each layer of his songs. A large part of the charm of Joseph's live show is watching him create these loops, using his guitar as a percussive instrument, which ends up sounding better than even your most expensive drum machine. How he is able to time the beats, background vocals, and guitar loops is beyond me. The finest instrument in his on-stage arsenal hands down is Mr. Arthur’s voice. His range can go from a deep Leonard Cohen to a falsetto Jeff Buckley.
One of Joseph Arthur's set highlights was the new track "Can't Exist." With the looping background vocals repeating "I will wait for you mother, and I will wait for you father. I will wait for you sister, and I will wait for you brother", this song became an instant favorite with his devoted following. One of the few older tracks included on his setlist was “History,” which was from his 2000 release Come To Where I’m From. His mother, who was in the audience, requested the final song of the evening to be "Honey And The Moon." At one point, when Joseph forgot a few of the lyrics, the audience joined right in, knowing every word by heart. A Joseph Arthur sing-along in Hoboken makes for a truly surreal experience.
Joseph Arthur’s new record Our Shadows Will Remain will be released on September 28 through Vector Recordings.