Over the Rhine (w/ Lucy Wainwright Roche) 11/12/10

The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

In the 20 months since I have started concertconfessions.com, I have received numerous last minute invites to concerts.  This past Thursday, I got perhaps the most unexpected and yet rewarding invite of all.  It was a message from my Mother who lives 400 miles away in the Bay Area.  She asked if I wanted to check out Over the Rhine with her at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA.  While I knew she was a big fan of the Husband and Wife duo, the last thing on my radar was my Mother sneaking into town via Southwest Airlines and getting me on the list for a Friday night at The Troubadour.

The night kicked off with a quick opening set from Lucy Wainwright Roche.  If those last names sound familiar it’s because she is the daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche.  I am just going to come out and say this:  As a straight white male who loves heavy metal, sports, chaos and destruction; the last thing I am looking for on a Friday night is some gal up on stage with an acoustic guitar and a microphone.

With that said, I will admit that Lucy’s set was better than expected.  While songs such as “A&E” left a lot to be desired, Lucy’s humorous banter between songs truly makes you want to root her on.  Hell, I wonder if perhaps she should ditch the guitar and switch her focus to stand-up comedy.  The obvious highlight of her opening set was her father joining in on two songs.  It’s clear this is where she gets her humor for as the senior Wainwright joked about puking back by the bathrooms during a James Taylor gig at the Troubadour a few decades earlier.  While I was not rushing to the merch table to get in on the two for $20 Compact Disc deal, Lucy Wainwright Roche did a fine job of warming the stage for the main event, which in this case is really all you can ask for.

After a quick set change, headliners Over the Rhine hit the tiny stage.  The husband and wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist hypnotized the respectful and attentive crowd with a two hour set that featured sneak previews of the groups upcoming record The Long Surrender as well as a solid dose of material the duo have written over the past twenty years.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about the band walking into the venue.  However, I was won over early into the show when Bergquist read a poem from one of my all-time favorites – Charles Bukowski.  The poem is called “Bluebird” and it led into a beautiful song with the same name.  When not dazzling with outstanding musicianship, the band is cracking the crowd up with hilarious stage banter.  From the heart in Berquist stories to the long rambling rants of Detweiler, often times the crowd didn’t know if they should laugh, cry or perhaps a lil of both.

With the show being in the City of Angels, we were blessed to watch Over the Rhine welcome some very special guests to the stage.  Acclaimed singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams took to the stage and lent her talents on the soft and haunting song “Undamned.”  Later in the evening, the band brought out friend and recent collaborator Joe Henry.  Henry performed two songs including a moving version of “The Sharpest Blade.”

While the show had many highlights on a musical level, the highlight for me was watching my Mom.  I didn’t realize just how big a fan she was of Over the Rhine till she decided to come down last minute to see them.  Watching her get lost in the music was something that words can’t describe.  I have been blessed with numerous backstage passes over the years.  However, to have my own mother get me backstage at the Troubadour to meet the band was pretty incredible.  After all, I owe my musical addiction to her.  My earliest memories of music are her playing piano in our home.  Hell, I am convinced I can remember hearing her play songs by Carole King and Elton John while I was in the womb.  So thank you to my Mom for not only taking me down to the Troubadour on a Friday night, but for a lifelong addiction to music.


A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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