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Friday, June 8, 2007

Last Night: Lucinda Williams (yeah, you heard me) at The Paramount

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2007 at 9:24 AM

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Lucinda Williams @ The Paramount

The words “this is a song from the new album” usually have me contemplating a bathroom break at a concert. But at last night’s Lucinda Williams show at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, the country-rocker made me glad I stayed in my seat with an inflated bladder. Two of the strongest numbers during the 90-minute concert were from her new album, West, which I hadn’t heard before.

Williams sang the moody “Unsuffer Me” over slow, pounding drums and sustained guitar, heavy on feedback to great effect. She explained that despite what record reviewers have written, the song isn’t about an ex-lover, but personal enlightenment.

Then came a ball-kickin’ tune called “Come on” in which Williams growls in her whiskeyed rasp: “Dude, I’m so over you/ you don’t even have a clue/ all you did was make me blue/ you didn’t even make me/ Come on!” This song was also about personal enlightenment. Nah, just kidding. It is about an ex-lover.

A yet-to-be recorded song, “Honey Bee,” was also fantastic. Before the band launched into it, Williams said she wanted to show everyone she could still write while in a happy, contented relationship. The catchy and uncharacteristically upbeat tune went something like, “My sweet honey bee/ I’m so glad you stung me.” Then there was some money-shot line about getting honey all over her tummy. Ahhh, I wasn’t takin’ notes, so no verbatim lyrics on that one. But you get the gist.

As I was saying earlier, I’m one of those people who wants to hear familiar material when I go to a concert. Sadly, Lucinda and the band botched my favorite song of hers.

“Essence” is one of the sexiest songs ever recorded, a tale of obsessive lust: “I am waiting here for more/ I am waiting by your door/ I am waiting on your back steps/ I am waiting in my car/ I am waiting at this bar/ I am waiting for your essence.” The persistent and sultry way she sings it in the recorded version—well, you just know this lady would fuck you raw. At the concert, however, the band played it up-tempo, killing the seductiveness of the original. It then concluded with a meandering rock jam that even seemed to leave everyone onstage a little puzzled.

Overall, though, Williams’ put on a solid and fun show. And in the end, Williams entertained doing what she does best: Belting out songs about drinking, fucking, being dumped and getting drunk and wanting to fuck the guy who dumped you. -- Will Harper

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Matt Stroud

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