Austin: Jose Gonzalez @ The Levi's/FADER Trading Post




Jose Gonzalez playing at the Trading Post is somewhat of an odd fit. The place is a spot where the hip come to hang and be scene and have fun and listen to cool music and just sort of pass the time in a nice, outdoors environment. Most of the bands that play here look "cool," they have an "image," and most "rock." Jose Gonzalez fits none of these characteristics. He walked onto the stage wearing completely unstylish black jeans, a semi-uncool black t-shirt and some black keds-like sneakers, that were (you guessed it), pretty un-hip. He carried his guitar case up on stage, opened it, pulled out a classical guitar with two strips of black tape covering the sound hole and plugged it in. Without a single word of introduction, Jose started with "Deadweight On Velveteen," lightly plucking his guitar with the nimble fingers of a classically-trained guitarist (or one of those guys that can solve a Rubik's Cube with one hand). It took the audience a few seconds to even realize that he had gone on, but once they heard his gentle, sweet voice over the PA, a solid pack of folks filtered to the front of the stage to check him out.

Sitting on an antique-looking wooden chair, he continued to roll through a whole slew of songs off his recently-released Stay In The Shade EP and soon-to-be-re-released debut album, Veneer. "Stay In The Shade," "Lovestain," "Heartbeats," and his tear-jerking cover of Kylie's "Hand On Your Heart" were all performed with perfection. And by "performed," I mean that in the loosest of ways. Jose Gonzalez doesn't "perform" like most commercially-successfully (and even not-so-commercialy successful) artists today. Fitting right in line with his bare bones approach to fashion, Jose doesn't run or jump or show off in any way whatsoever. He sits on his chair and quit simply spews out some of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, and thoughtful music on the planet. At the end of his set, following a cover of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy", he simply said "Thank you very much," put his guitar away and carried it off stage.

PS: The people who were talking the whole time missed out (and kind of suck).

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Austin: Jose Gonzalez @ The Levi's/FADER Trading Post