Saturday brought one of those great late-spring nights to LA: a ceiling of PM clouds where you can smell the ocean in the air. The conditions were near-perfect for Cass McCombs to welcome his band to the El Rey Theatre.
For those unfamiliar with the dreamy, slightly a-twang guitar of Cass McCombs, its worth mentioning that he is one of those rare artists whose live performance lives up to the promise of his in-studio abilities. When begging comparisons, Jeff Buckley and Calexico come to mind, though McCombs’ band offers a similar pleasing groove in a more up-beat context.
Cass and band were joined for several songs with vocalist Karen Black, heard below on the 2009 song Dreams Come True Girl. Since 2009, McCombs and band have released two more full-length albums Wit’s End and Humor Risk, both in 2011, and only 7 months apart from each other.
On Saturday, it was clear that although Cass McCombs appears to be comfortable being seen as a mere silhouette (he played without a spotlight, and the seemingly deliberate choice of a bank of pixel-ly light behind him, to further obscure the view of the crowd), his brilliant talent shown though without trouble.
A long version of County Line jumped out from the hour+ set as did Angel Blood (“hangin from your wing by my tail”). McCombs delivers evocative lyrics and a distinct, lovely sound to match.