Adam Kurtz Band + Loverless at Empire Dine and Dance, April 4
Billed as the debut of Adam Kurtz's new band, Saturday at the Empire Dine and Dance marked an important moment for the local songwriter. After two songs as a duo with frequent collaborator Keith Mann, the band was completed by the addition of Elijah Ocean and Michael Anderson (both of Loverless) and singer Nancy Cartonio. The new quintet's set was culled entirely from the 2008 release The Devil Is Defeated, including all but the final track from the album.
From "Illusion" — which does a great job of introducing each instrument — to a refreshingly chaotic finale with "Surrender," it was apparent that this wasn't just a backing band but a new life for Kurtz's songs. Though there's at least one local show on the horizon for the "trio" of Kurtz, Mann, and Zoom (their drum machine), the prospect of this full band sticking around looks pretty good.
Though Elijah Ocean had been noticeably sedate during his first set of the night — holding down the rhythm on an acoustic guitar while Kurtz did his best to melt faces — the leader of Loverless was now in rock-star mode, Portland's own larger-than-life guitar hero with the stage moves to match it. The trio played through their 2006 LP, Fighter, before closing out the set with a handful of tracks from their more recent Nothing Under The Sun.
The fact that two-thirds of the band was pulling a double seemed to have no effect on Loverless, as they attacked every song with more rock fury than most bands in town can seem to muster at their best show, and I'm not even convinced they were really trying that hard. They would have gone all night (and who's to say they didn't, at the afterparties?) but last call came and went, and it was time for the show to end, much to the disappointment of some enthusiastic and vocal fans.
: Live Reviews
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