Tag: Fistful of Mercy

Fistful of Mercy 11/13/10 (Early Show): Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Hollywood, CA

Fistful of Mercy 11/13/10 (Early Show)

Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

The entire process of getting into the first of three sold out shows for Fistful of Mercy at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery could be a post on its own.  So instead of wasting three paragraphs allow me to thank Steve, Melina and the World Champion San Francisco Giants for not only a wonderful evening, but easily one of my top three shows of 2010.  Fact is that as I write this, I have not fully processed what I experienced inside the historic cemetery’s Masonic Lodge last night.  The show was so hauntingly beautiful, perhaps I never will.

Before we discuss the music, it is important to discuss the venue.  This was my first trip to the Masonic Lodge, and I hope it is not my last.  The old hall is painted blood red and lined with one-sheets from classic Hollywood films.  With a small stage below the peaked roof, artists must walk through the crowd to take the stage.  With an already eager crowd going nuts as the hanging chandeliers dimmed, the foursomes walk through the hall sent the 200+ individuals in the crowd into overdrive.

Made up of Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison (with Jessy Greene on Violin) the group got the first of two shows on this particular evening underway with “I Don’t Want To Waste Your Time.”  With cameras clicking and glasses clinking, the room took on a whole new energy as the collective conscious realized just how lucky we were to see the powerful band in such a delicate venue.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it took me a few songs to realize why Fistful of Mercy was performing in this location.  As a huge fan of Joseph Arthur, I should have realized that with his lyrical emphasis on spirits Hollywood Forever was a highly appropriate location.  In fact Arthur and Harper discussed the “floating” spirits who were amongst us all night.  Hell, one could argue that songs like “As I Call You Down” managed to take on new meanings due in part to the shows location.

While set mainly consisted of material from the trio’s debut record, however each individual performed a sample of their solo work.  While I do not know the name of the Harrison number, he did dedicate it to a couple somewhere in the crowd who are about to welcome a baby girl into the world.  Following a long-winded (a theme for the night) yet hilarious story about days of touring in a van by Harper, Arthur lead to group through a spot-on take of his hit “In The Sun.”  However, the highlight of the night was Ben Harper performing an emotionally charged version of “Please Me Like You Want To.”  While TMZ can tell you all the latest on Harper’s personal life, watching the man perform this song in this city and this moment in time – words simply can’t express the emotions within that moment.  The Harper led Fistful of Mercy original “Restore Me” followed as an exclamation mark to the “Please Me.”

With a heavy musical mood all night, the group loosened things up with “Things Go ‘Round.”  The song featured Harrison on piano, Harper on Bass and Arthur on a tiny drum kit.  As was prevalent all night, you could see that the band that formed 10 short months ago was having an absolute blast.  Other late set highlights included the song “Fistful of Mercy” and “Father’s Son.”

With the band exiting the stage and the lights coming back up, I had assumed the show was over.  As soon as the lights went back down, the crowd noise doubled in decibel level as we all realized the band would return.  We were treated to a two song encore that kicked off with an emotionally charged cover of the Velvet Underground classic “Pale Blue Eyes.”  After one final round of lengthy-yet-hilarious stage banter, the early show ended with “With Whom You Belong.”  As proof to how powerful the performance was, the band actually managed to get the entire crowd to join in a sing along at the end of the song.  As anyone who has ever attended a concert in Los Angeles is well aware, this is no easy task.  It really was the perfect ending to an amazing show.  Fingers crossed we see future US dates for Fistful of Mercy, as this is one band you can’t afford to miss out on.

Fistful of Mercy Team With Tom Morello To Rock Conan

Fistful of Mercy Team With Tom Morello To Rock Conan

Our founder and spiritual guru Reverend Justito wrote a recap of Fistful of Mercy’s appearance on the late night TBS talk show Conan earlier today for the fine folks at Antiquiet who would never, ever in a trillion years allow him to write such a tacky and horrific run on sentence such as the one you are about to finish reading right about ummmmmmmmm now.  With Tom Morello in tow, the posse of guitar slinging gang-stars rocked the gingers Warner Bros. Studio sound stage.  You can read his complete recap and watch the performance by clicking here.

Fistful Of Mercy Stops Traffic In Seattle

 

Fistful of Mercy’s Live Debut Stops Traffic

You have to check this out.  As some of you may know, Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison (honorable mention to the lovely Jessy Greene on violin) have formed a brand spankin’ new band called Fistful of Mercy.  The band performed their first “gig” last night at Easy Street Records in Seattle (fine store I may add) and let’s just say things got a bit out of control.  How out of control you ask?  Check out this post by West Seattle Blog to witness Joseph, Ben and Dhani stop rush hour traffic.

Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper & Dhani Harrison Form Fistful of Mercy

Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper & Dhani Harrison
Form Fistful of Mercy

OK fine, so Rock it Out! Blog and Antiquiet beat us on posting this, but ConcertConfessions favorite Joseph Arthur (along with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison) have formed a brand new band called Fistful of Mercy.  They have posted a vimeo video for a track that shares a name with the band that you can view below.  The trio’s debut album is due October 5th and rumor has it a tour shall follow (see you there).

Fistful of Mercy from Fistful of Mercy on Vimeo.

Joseph Arthur Wraps West Coast Run at the Troubadour

Joseph Arthur 01/23/10
The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
Joseph Arthur live at The Troubadour 01/23/10
As I shared here recently as a FROM THE VAULT post, the last time I saw Joseph Arthur, we didn’t really connect.  In the weeks and months that passed after that warm summer night, I actually began to get angry.  What was wrong with me?  I have listened to this man and his music time and time again and I allowed weird vibes and distractions ruin our brief time together.  Not permitting my anger to get the best be, I told myself there is always next time.  Thankfully, next time came in the form of concertconfessions user HJUnderpants birthday celebration.  After a tasty meal at Barney’s Beanery up the road, we entered The Troubadour on a cold winter night to once again experience the music of singer/songwriter Mr. Joseph Arthur.
Joseph Arthur live at The Troubadour 01/23/10
Right off the bat, things were better than last time.  Despite what the venue had informed me of via Twitter, this would not be a seated show.  Excited by this discovery we hit the front bar and enjoyed a celebratory birthday drink or four before finding our spot on the open floor.  With two blank canvases against the back wall, Arthur hit the stage minutes before 9:30 pm.  The multi-talented performer began to paint upon both canvases before strapping on an acoustic guitar and kicking off the music with a soft new song (title unknown, but assumed to be from a rumored 2010 release).  What followed was a rocking one man version of “Devil’s Broom” which allowed the musician to throw down a nasty electric guitar solo over percussive and rhythm loops all made by acoustic guitar.  By the time Arthur was into his third song “Echo Park”, my wife had whispered into my ear that this time was already 1,000,000 times better than last time and I happened to agree.

Yes indeed with guitar loops bordering on insanity and two paintings being created right before our eyes, the journey was off to an amazing start.  Hell, the lanky hipster softly singing fan favorites “Birthday Card” and “Honey and the Moon” into my right ear didn’t bother me as Arthur commanded my focus.  Using both looped guitar and vocals as a backdrop, Arthur stopped strumming and returned to his paintings, rapidly adding lines and angles over what appeared to be faces of a man and a woman (I can hardly draw a stick figure, who am I to try to talk brush strokes and angles).  Once satisfied with his progress on the paintings, Arthur brought the loops to a screeching crashing yet never missing a beat by diving head first into “All The Old Heroes”.  Armed with only a Telecaster and a microphone, the pride of Akron, Ohio stood onstage alone for the final time during this short west coast tour.

Arthur welcomed four guests to the stage.  In addition to Jessy Greene on Violin (who had been off and on the stage all night by this point) two members of his Lonely Astronauts backing band (Sibyl Buck on vocals and Kraig Jarret Johnson on Guitar/Vocals) joined in on the fun.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone noticed, as roots/jam/soul/reggae/metal/blues/pop/funk/acoustic/indie/rebel/surf/rocker Ben Harper came out along with them.  I know my jaw dropped to the clubs cement floor at the chance to see Harper (someone I have seen many times over the years) in such a small venue.  The now five piece band launched into “Black Lexus” from Arthur’s 2006 record Nuclear Daydream. Most stunning about this version was Harper’s slide Weissenborn and Green’s violin coming together to create a melodic sound-scape that helped carries Arthur’s intense vocals.

While most musicians soon left the stage (they would come and go as the night carried on) Harper remained on stage to add backing vocals to Arthur’s best known song – “In The Sun”.  I didn’t even make it to the chorus before my arms were covered in goosebumps.  The vocals of the two blended nicely, and by the time they were done, I saw not one but two separate audience members with tears running down their cheeks.  Over the next 45 minutes, the explosion of art continued to engulf senses.  Arthur noted on multiple occasions how blessed he was to be playing with his old friend Ben.  Harper can shred with the best of them, but on this night he played with great restraint.  He found holes and filled them with rich melodies, allowing the focus to stay on the songs, and not the star.  I really didn’t think the night could get better but it proved me wrong yet again as the duo performed my favorite song “Ashes Everywhere”.

I lost track of how many encore breaks the night had, but I know the show ended with Arthur completing his paintings during the song “Invisible Hands”.  Big blue brush stroked smacked up against the canvas as Arthur sang for Jesus to come back and die again.  As the song slowly stretched out at the end, musicians slowly began to leave the stage leaving Harper to finish the song alone.

Moments after his exit, the stage lights came up and we went to the merch table.  As we waited in line to purchase the evenings show, the night once again got a little bit better.  Arthur performed two more songs to the packed merch area/bar before he spoke with fans, took photos and signed autographs.  I tried to keep my moment brief.  He helped me with an art project of my own I am working on this year, signed a copy of the show.  As we exited out the door and hit chilly Santa Monica Blvd, I couldn’t help but smile knowing that for Joseph Arthur and I the second time was the charm.

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