Waking Up to Josh Ritter
Town Hall, NYC, 5/20/10
Josh Ritter, a singer songwriter from the midwest now residing in Brooklyn, packed Town Hall for his second-in-a-row sold out performance last night.
Somewhat of a variety show–Ritter does a great job of placing the rockers in between his slower ballads. I knew his song “Rumors” from a good amount of airtime on WFUV, and I’ve heard that Ritter and band are really well received in Ireland and Britain–performing in 5,000 capacity halls.
He plays acoustic and an electric hollow body Gibson which is what he sounds best on–beautiful voice, reminiscent of a young Paul Simon–but with a tad more Dylan/Springsteen lyricism. Paste magazine named him one of the top 100 songwriters a year or two ago. The bass player read the Edgan Allan Poe poem “Annabel Lee” with a drum and piano accompaniment. I kind of zoned out at that point, but it sounded nice in the hall.
When the energy is high, Ritter can hardly contain his legs–one minute they’re twitching, the next he’s in the clouds…jumping as high as he can. The stage is a mere springboard for his enthusiasm. And when he’s still? He’s very charming, frequently addressing the audience, encouraging crowd participation (whistling, do’s and dah’s, even cricket chirps), and has such a commanding and adorable stage presence that, and, I’m warning you now…you’re going to fall in love with him (read: esp the ladies).
“If it’s your first time at our show, it’s kind of like we’re on a first date,” said Ritter midset. The crowd, full of plaid giggles and nerdish glasses, responded back with sighs and hoots. One girl yelled from the tippy top of the mezzanine, “What do you want for breakfast?”
Funny. Charming. Solid band. Listen–and really listen to the words of Josh Ritter. He’s a good one.