I guess that it's true. Most music has already been written. Most of the songs being written today have already been written 100 times or more. But we don't care. The music that we enjoy now is a continuation of the music we have always enjoyed. The songwriters that are special are the ones that understand that they don't have to add all the salt and pepper that begs for musical appreciation. The artists that will last the test of the time are the ones that rely on flawless songwriting. They take a formula (a simple formula) and mold it into something that is their own if only for the fact that they wrote it. Case in point: Vetiver.
Vetiver is the brainchild of Andy Cabic, who you might know from association with Devendra Banhart. The two are best friends, write songs together, and have a record label together, Gnomonsong. Bla Bla Bla. Don't worry about any of that shit. I'm not one to knock friendship but all the details of it all are just unimportant. What is important is that Vetiver's new album, To Find Me Gone, is a beautiful collection of psychedelic California rock songs with a tint of country-folk. Basically, it's great. But what's better than the album? The band's live performance.
Vetiver played a show at Southpaw in Brooklyn on Saturday night with the beautiful Vashti Bunyan as their opener. I was not expecting Vetiver to be the headliner, but was glad to see the band close the night. I would talk up a storm about how great Vashti Bunyan was, but Vetiver's set was so perfect and comforting that it only makes sense to dedicate the rest of what energy my fingers still have left to type to Vetiver's set.
They opened with Bobby Charles' "I Must Be In A Good Place" which set the relaxed country vibe that most of the show would follow. Cabic's voice is spot on, never breaking to hit a note, never becoming raspy, and never straining to sound like anything else but itself. The highlights of their set were "No One World," "Maureen," and the "I Know No Pardon." "I Know No Pardon" is the kind of song that gives everyone in a room faith that the songwriter will reign supreme, that going to work isn't so bad, that the cold outside is in our heads, and most importantly, that we didn't waste any money on our tickets. They covered songs from The Everly Brothers and Ian & Sylvia before bringing Vashti Bunyan back onto the stage for their encore. What an ending.
You know, there's only so much you can explain to someone about a show. The best thing I can recommend is to go pick up some Vetiver music. Go. It's well worth a trip to the local record store (iTunes).
Photos by Daniel Arnold.