bLA Readers Report Back: Jose Gonzalez Concert

jose%20gonzalez.jpgSinger-songwriter Jose Gonzalez came to the Fonda last weekend and blew our contest winners away. How one man with a guitar can create such gravitas, such intensity, is beyond me, but he does it. Our readers review the show, behind the jump.

Lovely photo by Jenna Last-Name-Unknown.

Excerpted from the reviews behind the jump:
“For an L.A. crowd, I was surprised at how engaged everyone was. That, to me, as a performer in this city with its jaded music listeners, was a testament to the power of Gonzalez’s quiet charisma. Listening to people shush each other to hear the guitar intro to “Crosses” put a smile on my face. All in all, a great show.” -M. McCarthy

“…a wonderful evening with a gifted artist who was very warmly received by an adoring audience. A pretty good Tuesday…There were probably a dozen troubadours playing around town at various coffeehouses last night that would’ve blown McCombs out of the water.” -R. Sarabia


R. Sarabia writes:

At 10pm Jose Gonzalez walked onto the stage to a hero’s welcome, promptly sat down and got straight to work. Gossamer voice, beautiful guitar tone, and such an unassuming presence. Not much of a talker though. We stood near the back of the floor where a flock of dickweeds carried on conversations louder than what was floating off the stage for much of the first two songs. Did they think they were at the Hollywood Bowl during an LA Phil concert? Happily the chattycathys shut the fuck up by the fourth song, the hauntingly beautiful cover of The Knife’s Heartbeats. An absolutely electrifying four minutes – I’m getting chills now thinking about it.

After a couple more numbers Mr. Gonzalez was joined onstage by a conga player and another percussionist who also added harmonies for the rest of the evening. Lovely. I’m not familiar with the titles of the songs played with the exception of a cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop as the show closer (and I think I prefer his version to th’original). All-in-all a wonderful evening with a gifted artist who was very warmly received by an adoring audience. A pretty good Tuesday.

Further observations:
-Jose mumbles.
-Man, there were a LOT of ladies in the audience.
-The outdoor patio upstairs is awesome – we snuggled on the cozy couch while watching the opener Cass McCombs projected on that large wall facing Pep Boys.
-There were probably a dozen troubadours playing around town at various coffeehouses last night that would’ve blown McCombs out of the water.
-Fabulous lighting effect at the top of the proscenium from the back floor lights.
-Show ended at 11:40pm. If there was an encore, we missed it.

M. McCarthy says:

I’m a recent comer to the Jose Gonzalez fanbase, and what I saw last night at the Music Box in Hollywood cemented my place there. The man has all of the skill and none of the guile of a virtuoso performer. After a tepid performance from Cass McCombs, in which the blend never got quite right between the guitars, Mr. Gonzalez took the stage solo.

The show didn’t really begin for me until after the obligatory “Heartbeats” cover, which Gonzalez prefaced with a long instrumental and then breezed through. It was almost as if he was thinking “Yeah, they want to hear this. I’ll give it to them now and then get to the real goods.”

“How Low”, especially with the pair of percussionist/backup vocalists beside him, was particularly good, and the first moment in the show that really had me mesmerized. Another favorite of mine was “Crosses”, which, despite it’s popularity Gonzalez really brings some new life to in a live setting.

I loved his cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrops”. The build at the end and the desperation in his voice as he sang “stumbling a little, stumbling a little” was an emotional high point of the performance.

For an L.A. crowd, I was surprised at how engaged everyone was. That, to me, as a performer in this city with its jaded music listeners, was a testament to the power of Gonzalez’s quiet charisma. Listening to people shush each other to hear the guitar intro to “Crosses” put a smile on my face. All in all, a great show.

3 Replies to “bLA Readers Report Back: Jose Gonzalez Concert”

  1. Uh, if Los Angeles music fans were really as jaded as they were made out to be, they wouldn’t even bother going to any music events. The Militant never understood this stereotype. So the moment a music fan steps over to the Kern County line, they suddenly become appreciative of music? (Okay, maybe that might be true of country music)

  2. I won tkts to see Jose Gonzalez as did M. McCarthy and we agreed to post write-ups on the show. I do not know MMc but I find it odd that we both wrote the same review, except MMc knew more of the song titles. We both referred to him as Mr. Gonzalez and we both wrote “all-in-all”.

    Maybe we should get a place together. Just sayin’.

  3. Jenna Wolf took the photo. Thanks again to bLA for the tix!

    Militant: Are you a musician? It’s a very cold crowd here in LA that I’ve never experienced elsewhere, and I’ve played some of the best rooms in New York, Philly, LA and (let’s not forget) my native Vermont. I’ll never forget my first show at the Hotel Cafe, with all of those crossed-armed snobs that warmed up only after an arduous musical battle.

    I don’t think Jose Gonzalez has a big enough following yet that people will automatically react the way they did to his show.

    Ric: Glad we’re on the same page.

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