Last Tuesday I was thinking of going to see Daniel Johnston but ended up joining some friends to see a band I knew nothing about, Phosphorescent.
They were a suitably bearded Brooklyn-by-way-of-the-South alt-country kind of band. I liked them at first — they reminded me of a better version of onetime DC hipster/country band Canyon and I was totally digging the steel guitar sound. (I never tire of quoting John Peel saying that “if God played an instrument it would be the steel guitar.”)
I found a youtube vid below — dark but you get the idea:
Around mid-set, though, the band started to lose me. They did a bunch of Willie Nelson covers, which is fine and all, I dig Willie. But they were less interesting than the early part of the set.
When the singer (the internet tells me he is named Matthew Houck) came back for an encore — a rarity on the Backstage at the ‘Cat — I’d had enough, and my friends and I left while he was still performing. Solo, he was repetitive and boring. It was like a vastly inferior version of Songs: Ohia. I am not saying I could do better, but I have seen enough weepy singers in my time that I knew it was time to bail.
Still I think these guys have potential; Houck had a nice voice for the style of music the band played. But more country atmosphere, dude, and less solo singer/songwriter stuff!