The Magnetic Fields...
Last Friday I took David, Roberto, Paul and Marky to see The Magnetic Fields at the Lyric Hammersmith. For the uninitiated, The Magnetic Fields are the music of songwriter-producer-instrumentalist Stephin Merritt, who lives and records in New York City. Adept at computer music programming and production, Merritt records his own albums and plays almost everything on them with help from cellist Sam Davol, banjo player/second guitarist John Woo, and percussionist/pianist Claudia Gonson.
The thirty song gig itself was a tad lack lustre, I'm afraid. The performance was very relaxed, almost too relaxed. The endless instrument tuning got a bit irritating at times too. Perhaps all this could laid at the door of classic New York ennui but towards the end of the first half Marky all but fell asleep - he never made it past the interval. Having said all that the songs were truly magnificent. Merritt's deep, booming baritone oozed like treacle throughout the set - no more so than on the seminal Papa Was A Rodeo. This was the high point of the show with perhaps the comic Yeah! Oh, Yeah! coming close to the level of applause and whooping that welcomed it by the devoted crowd.
The Magnetic Fields were basically over here doing a short tour to promote their new album I as well as a soundtrack album Pieces of April. Pieces of April includes three tracks plucked off 69 Love Songs as well as two from the 6ths' Hyacinths and Thistles. Of the additional songs they performed from this album the stand out new songs for me were One April Day itself and Heather Heather.