After a while, fans can take an artist for granted. I’m certainly guilty of it. You get so used to a songwriter or band putting out one quality album after another, you lose appreciation for how great they are. Joseph Arthur, who performed at Radio Radio Thursday night, is a prime example.
For about 15 years, Arthur has been cranking out outstanding work. Our Shadows Will Remain from 2004 is a classic. And yet, somewhere in the last few years I stopped paying attention as closely as I once did. I heard the new albums but I wasn’t really listening. Arthur’s stellar show ensures that won’t happen again.
Taking the stage alone with his guitar and a looping machine, Arthur opened with a haunting Almost Blue from The Graduation Ceremony. From the start, he was flat-out mesmerizing. Arthur built a mountain of melodic noise that was relentless. By the time his band mates joined him for Nuclear Daydream’s Black Lexus, I was locked in. Can’t Exist from Shadows was next, continuing the rocking onslaught, before the set settled down somewhat with the haunting Lack a Vision.
Other standouts included the frenzied and feverish Cocaine Feet and the Come to Where I’m From classic, In the Sun. Arthur also played several songs from his newest album, Redemption City, which is available for free — yes, free — on his site. Travel as Equals and I Miss the Zoo, both played during the encore, were particularly strong.
Here’s a guarantee: I won’t overlook Joseph Arthur again. Neither should you. Go listen now.
Were you at the MOKB Presents show? What did you think?