What do you do if it's Valentine's Day and you're an musician who makes music far removed from fuzzy teddy bears and chocolate, who has a concert scheduled, and not the sort of concert that just draws brodogs and the like?
It was an interesting challenge for Pete Yorn, who kicked off a two-month tour with Ben Kweller last night at Marquee Theatre. Yorn said he wasn't planning on playing many love songs because most of his material is "anti-Valentines." But, in the spirit of the holiday, he conceded with the endearing musicforthemorningafter b-side, "A Girl Like You," which the eager audience enthusiastically sang along to as if it was one of his most popular singles.
It didn't really feel like Valentine's Day other than a few audience members wearing red clothing or heart shaped glasses. Not for lack of couples. Yorn asked who was single, and a handful of people quietly raised their hands. The majority of the crowd cheered when he asked who came with a Valentine. For the most part, couples conservatively swayed back and forth in tune to Yorn's love songs. The night lacked PDA, thank God, save for the random guy patting his wife/girlfriend's ass in tune to "Murray".
Yorn, who headlined over Kweller, said it felt good to be on stage again because "it's been a good year and some change since I've been here." His last Phoenix show was in November 2009, after recording Back and Forth and Break Up, his collaboration with Scarlett Johansson.
2011 marks the ten-year anniversary of his debut album musicforthemorningafter, the driving force of last night's show. Crowd favorites included "a song about a stalker called 'Closet'"; "Lose You", which was written on Valentine's Day a few years ago; "On Your Side", a "hopeful" song played once or twice on the last tour; "For Nancy" and "Murray". The remainder of the set was mostly filled with material from his eponymous sixth album, dubbed "The Black Album" because it was produced by The Pixies frontman Frank Black.
Yorn's set started out mellow, but gained momentum as he channeled fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen for his energetic three-song encore. It may not have been "Born to Run," but the crowd sure had a good time.
1. Precious Stone
3. Strange Condition
5. Crystal Village
6. Velcro Shoes
7. Don't Wanna Cry
8. Future Life
9. Lose You
10. A Girl Like You
11. Turn of the Century
12. Life on a Chain
13. On Your Side
15. Rock Crowd
16. For Nancy
Last Night: Pete Yorn at Marquee Theatre.
Personal Bias: I'm a sucker for scruffy guitar players.
The Crowd: Mostly lovebirds in their 30's-40's.
Overheard in the crowd: "Ben Quaalude and Pete Yawn."
"The bassist looks like he belongs in Spinal Tap. He's like a toned down version of Gallagher."
Random Notebook Dump: Sorry ladies, Pete Yorn was wearing a wedding ring, but Ben Kweller is a Gemini who enjoys long walks on the beach.
Better Than: Spending Valentine's Day at home watching Amelie or (500) Days of Summer.