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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last Night: Blind Pilot at Great American Music Hall

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge JOSEPH SCHELL
  • Joseph Schell
Blind Pilot

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009
Great American Music Hall
Better Than:
warm milk and cookies on a cold, blustery night.

There could have been a tornado outside, or even a secret Weezer show just down the road, but anyone who was watching last night's sold out Blind Pilot show at The Great American Music Hall wouldn't have noticed. Cold, wind, Weezer -- the elements had nothing on this band's sweet melodies and humble, mellow stage presence. 

It seemed like the only songs the crowd didn't sing along with last night were old tunes that lead singer, Israel Nebeker, said  he had performed with drummer, Ryan Dobrowski, on their first tour down the West Coast from their hometown of Portland a few years back.

  • Joseph Schell
The band has come a long way since then. During their last trip through San Francisco they played at the Outside Lands festival. Nebeker told the crowd that coming to play in San Francisco these days is a completely different experience than the first time they rolled through (literally -- they originally toured via bike). In addition to having a few more band members, they're also selling out venues as headliners now.

  • Joseph Schell
Besides a few older tunes and an excellent cover of Gillian Welch's, "Look at Miss

Ohio," the band stuck to songs

from their sole album, 3 Rounds and a Sound. Before playing the title track, Nebeker told the crowd that even though he wrote the song in a heartbroken state, people play it at their weddings now.

Blind Pilot doesn't usually provide much banter between songs, but the Great American crowd was eager to interact. Perhaps that enthusiasm, together with a little help from a wine bottle the band pulled from on stage, they loosened up enough to share some of their adventures from the day. For instance, they hit two things with their van (a tree and their friend's car-- Amy, they're sorry), and Nebeker spilled wine all over his clothes. Blind Pilot seemed in good spirits, but we hope their next visit's adventures are less destructive. 

Check back with All Shook Down for SF Weekly's Q&A with Blind Pilot front man Nebeker, coming up soon.

Critic's Notebook

By the way: There was definitely some Portland love on the dance floor last night. It's totally cool to share your love for various landmarks (like, for instance, shouting out "Powell's Books! Powell's Books!" between songs, as a few of last night's crowd members decided to do). But it's definitely time to put a sock in it when the band starts calling you the Portland Yellow Pages.

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Anna McCarthy


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