It’s a beautiful sentiment, and one spoken of often but rarely actually witnessed in person, like lightning striking in the same place twice.
The Rhythm Foundation pulled it off with perfect ease, wrapping up this season of their fourth year of free shows held at the venue while having José González kick off his US tour on Monday. It was a perfect serendipity, and the night couldn’t have demonstrated it any better.
The show opened with Luluc, a duo composed of duo Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett of Melbourne, Australia, “by way of Brooklyn, New York”, who play off each other in a beautiful way, casting a interstellar intimacy with each song.
Acoustic and electric, combining to make a powerful waltz, danced to by two very young members of the packed lawn, who twirled gently between the gap from barrier and the edge of the lawn, and bowed following the audience’s applause for Luluc.
Randell’s modesty pairs off against Hassett’s playful nature, as the pair exchanged banter through the intimate set, featuring “Little Suitcase” from “Dear Hamlyn”, and filled with tracks from 2014 album, “Passerby”, such as “Senja”, “Small Window”, “Reverie On Norfolk Street”, and “Without A Face”; the latter track featuring a build-up so wonderful and intense, Portishead’s influence shines through it, along with Randell’s Beth Orton-esque haunting vocals.
The duo wrapped with “Gold On The Leaves”, and an ending that shined perfectly as the title.
As the night continued, the space between the edge of the chair covered lawn and the familiar metal barrier was ignored, as it quickly filled closer to showtime.
González’s ability to set magnificent sights and stories through humble acoustic showed perfectly when he came without fanfare, music or under the darkness of dimmed lights. But rather, simply walking modestly to the center of the stage with his band to a rousing, and well-deserved applause.
The night’s festivities opened with touching “Crosses”, from “Veneer”, which had González enchanting the crowd on his own with his guitar.
Following the track, he introduced his live band, consisting of James Mathé (synthesizer), Jakob Albinsson (Guitar), Andres Renteria (Conga/Percussion) and Joel Wästberg (Drums).
The group began with “What Will”, setting off the magic that was to occur.
Going right into “Hand To Your Heart”, González’s breathtaking rendition of Kylie Minogue’s track, putting the heartwrenching lyrics on bold print.
Following two more tracks from his latest, “Vestiges & Claws”, the band jumped into Junip track “Walking Lightly”, Jose’s band away from solo ventures.
A few technical glitches were skipped over perfectly, with González then introducing a track by Mathé as they were fixed.
“Home”, from Mathé’s solo alias, Barbarossa, was nothing short of haunting and goosebump inciting, showing the individual strength and capability of each of González’s players.
This showcase continued into the set, strengthening songs into a whirlwind that even Radiohead would be envious of, including “Stories We Build, Stories We Tell”, “Killing For Love” and most especially “This Is How We Walk On The Moon”; an Arthur Russell track that was as poignant as it was beautiful, introduced by the question if anyone had looked up at the super blood moon of last night, joking that people were “howling at the beach”.
González’s breathtaking intimacy was not indifferent to the harsh city sounds that didn’t intrude into the set, but rather, added to it. The city’s haunting score contributing its thanks through eerily perfect timed bus signs, police siren wails or car honks.
Including “Teardrop” (a Massive Attack cover that rivals the original), the night began it’s end as the lights came down onto the stage, and the moon ascended higher.
Ending the set with “Down The Line”, the band exited the stage, with the even more packed crowd pleading for just one more; which they graciously gave.
The two-song encore included “With The Ink of A Ghost” and ended on the fan favorite, “Heartbeats”; González’s touching and forever enrapturing cover of The Knife.
The super blood moon will not happen again until 2033. And I think it can be spoken of that southern Florida hopes González, and his band, will return a few more times before then.
Until that time, we always have the moonlight and those tracks, scoring the city as we walk it…
José González continues his US tour into October 17th, with Luluc and Ryley Walker switching opening duties.