Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Broad View of GP’s Repertoire at the Narrows

Graham Parker does an acoustic take on "Heat Treatment," the title track from his debut album with The Rumour in 1976, during his 9/29/12 performance at the Narrows Center in Fall River, Mass.

Last month, my wife and I made seeing Graham Parker at the Narrows Center in Fall River part of our 22nd anniversary celebration. It seemed fitting since we’ve enjoyed many GP shows – solo and with various bands – together over our years.

This Saturday in late September was no exception. Despite claims of being under the weather and not exactly road ready – it was one of only two shows he was doing on this stint, having added the Narrows to his trip to Cambridge for a commemorative event at the famed folk club Passim – Parker sang as soulfully as usual and regaled the audience with characteristic humor and sarcasm. 

The Narrows is a great venue for fans and perfect for the likes of GP’s solo shows, which he’s made an annual habit of bringing to the old warehouse-cum-artists’-studios in recent years. When out on his own like this, Parker adeptly accompanies himself on acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica and even kazoo – the latter more than once! But mostly it’s about the songs; and, yes, to a lesser degree, the banter.

This show was particularly notable in that besides a handful of the requisite – and welcomed! – favorites, Parker dug deep into his back catalog, pulling out several songs I’d never heard him perform in any of the previous dozen or so times I’ve seen him live. 

Another highlight was the debut of a catchy riff-based tune from the yet-to-be released GP and The Rumour album. Throughout the evening, the noted singer/songwriter and former angry young man spoke with a mix of disbelief and enthusiasm about his former band’s upcoming reunion tour. I know I’m excited; I already have my tix – front row! 

Wanting to end his performance on an upbeat note, Graham Parker performed “Life Gets Better” from his 1983 The Real McCaw album. Of course, as you’ll see in the video above, GP being GP, he couldn’t resist injecting a bit of cynicism into one of his most optimistic songs. Despite that, it holds a nice sentiment for an anniversary celebration. Happy anniversary, baby!

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