Damien Jurado: "I'm not here to give a TED Talk or sermon, I promise you."
A couple hundred people gathered, sitting on the floor of a North Park church to listen to a solo acoustic performance from Seattle's Damien Jurado. Though not without a cult following, the half-full Irenic spoke to the under-appreciated nature of the singer-songwriter, who consistently channels his psychic pain into profound, heavy, and gorgeously arranged records. Possessing a dynamic voice fine tuned to the point of being an instrument in itself, Jurado controlled a moderately lit stage with nothing more than vocals and a guitar, and he didn't need to rise from his seat to establish his presence.
...by Damien Jurado
"It all makes sense to me...but the narrative might not make sense to you," Jurado relayed mid-set to explain the scattershot mixtape nature of his song selection from the conceptual, Richard Swift–produced trilogy of albums he released between 2010 and 2014. Mythical storytelling with surreal imagery and religious overtones unfolded over the course of a 90-minute performance.
"I'm not here to give a TED Talk or sermon, I promise you," Jurado spoke following his only lengthy monologue of the night about drawing inspiration from the held notes of Mongolian and Tibetan meditation chants, which he sought refuge in during a spell of anxiety-induced seclusion a few years back. He said that he was lost in his head while performing the previous song and felt the need to address it.
Jurado seemed reinvigorated following the speech, and brought a powerful, emotive weight to "Exit 353," taken from his latest album Visions of Us on the Land. His commanding voice caromed off the walls of the Irenic and pummeled the vacuous background chatter, crinkling vanishing caloric density bags, and un-silenced cell phones that attempted to fill out his band earlier in the evening.
He went on to mention that he hoped his songs could provide some healing for those who need it "and if you don't need it...lucky you." It was an intimate, stripped down night of the heady, adventurous folk Jurado has mastered over the course of 12 albums, and those who made it out to Polk Ave before church curfew were as lucky as those who don't need healing.
- Artist: Damien Jurado
- Venue: The Irenic
- Date: October 27
- Seats: General