Sunday, March 29, 2009

Josh Ritter at Center Stage, 3/24

Last Tuesday Josh Ritter and his band shared the bill with British rockers Gomez at Center Stage in Atlanta's CW Midtown Music Complex. Sort of an odd pairing, to my mind, but they had a few dates together on the road so there must be some crossover between the two fan bases/musics.

Josh and his four bandmates bounded onstage shortly after 8 p.m., all kitted out in suits and ties. Literally, I don't think I've ever seen anyone so excited to just be onstage playing music. Maybe Colin Meloy. At any rate, Josh charmed from the start with his big, sincere smile and Garth Algar-esque exclamations of "Thank you!" at the end of every song. The band kicked off with tunes from the most recent record, 2007's "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter," and the set ran the gamut from debut-album tracks to brand-new songs. About halfway through, Josh launched into his biggest hit, a little ditty called "Kathleen" -- and that's about when I lost my grip on the evening, because my boyfriend had been hiding an engagement ring in his pocket all evening and chose this opportune moment to bring it out. You'll forgive me if I missed some of the details...

The set wrapped up after about an hour and 15 minutes. Josh and the band left the stage but came back for a couple-song encore, ending with my other favorite tune, "Snow is gone." There was no way it could possibly have gotten better after that, so we bailed before Gomez took the stage. I'm already looking forward to the next time Josh & co. are in town, which the Josh Ritter street team/web site guy assured me wouldn't be too far in the future... here's hoping it's a headlining gig!

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