Joseph Arthur from Philly 11-19-16 to Akron 11-23-16

Joseph Arthur played the Tin Angel on 11-19-16 and it was timely for me. I haven’t been to a show in awhile and the in the midst of this post election crisis/haze/mess I really had no idea how badly I needed to get out. And doubly, how badly I needed it to be one of his shows.


Photo Credit: Shan

For the 11 days after the election I kept to myself, limiting my time in public mainly for not knowing where to find my people. I knew that going to the show would be good for me so I grabbed a ticket and made a plan to do something I knew I would enjoy. Being there was cathartic and it was necessary because it somewhat got me out of the post-election slump. (See why…check out The Campaign Song live from Tin Angel here.)

The Tin Angel show was the first show on his tour that I had been able to see since the June 3rd release of The Family. And by the way, the album is phenomenal if you haven’t heard it yet. You can find the info here. Several of the tracks have quickly taken to my favorites list like You Keep Hanging on, which has been running in my head on and off for days.

These two shows: Philly and Akron were both a beautiful combination of musical genius, showmanship and edginess that somehow he pulls off with a comedic twist. His personality can’t help but shine through whenever/wherever he plays. I know I’ve said it before, but I suspect this is because he so genuinely speaks his truth which is something I respect.

So, we fast forward a few days to my trip home for Thanksgiving. Home…Ohio… for both Joe and Sis Diss. For four consecutive years now Shan and I made it to the Thanksgiving Eve show at The Tangier in Akron, Ohio (click here to find some of our previous posts). Of course the show was every bit entertaining as the one I had gone to just days before. It does feel different to see a home show than it does to see a Philly show or a NYC show. And trust me when I say I’ve seen him play in all these places so many times I’ve lost my count! But, I think being “home” brings out different qualities in us all, and I don’t think there is an exception to this rule even for rock stars. So it is always fun to be able to share in the hometown experience.

I wondered what it would be like seeing him play shows a few days apart. Would it be the same? Would the set list vary?  How would it be different? But of course his chameleon-like ability to change up any song arrangement making you feel like it’s the first time you’ve ever heard it made the two shows feel like completely separate spaces in time for me.


Photo Credit: Shan

As a side note can I just say that when I was searching for the Philly set list I came across a youtube video from a Milwaukee show in September where he covers Prince’s When Doves Cry. I would have loved to have seen that one live for myself-wow. His vocal range has always been perplexing to me. Just when you think he can’t get any higher he can, or any lower he does, and with pitch perfect accuracy. Truly a gift. Add his live painting on stage to his musical talent and he never ceases to blow my mind. I can sincerely say that each time I leave one of his shows I always walk out with a sense of admiration.

But can I just share a quick regret coupled with an apology for the iPhone photos (in spite of the missing camera somehow Shan managed to finesse an iPhone camera in ways I can’t-thank you for that Shan). I didn’t have my “real” camera with me at either show this past month sigh. Maybe January 1 in NYC I’ll get to fix that at the City Winery show. I just might be there with my camera and some hope for 2017.

~Ady O

{click the links here and here and here if you want to go on a past JA show photo treasure hunt}

Joseph Arthur live at The Tangier (Akron, OH 11/26/2014)

Photos by Ady
Words by Shan

Thanksgiving tradition is now my sis and I cozied up in one of the slinky booths of the Tangier to be part of Joseph Arthur’s evening there. He plays host to the town . . . one man and his guitar and red pork pie hat, Akron body back in his homeland just as we are taken back to a piece of ours.  Market Street falls dark and cold but inside is festive lights and warmth. It’s been a long journey but we have returned to our bunker, the cradle of the big booth we’d been yearning for, and fall in love with the golden voice all over again. Song comes out of every pore of Arthur’s body, arms, legs, mind, heart. He towers above and yet climbs even higher to stomp on box and pummel us in the face. A glass of wine and The Devil’s Broom. Lou Reed is there in spirit, too. People packed in like sardines to be in his presence. Octaves spill from his lungs. Joe’s lungs. They must be massive. He loops and he runs circles around our minds. He is his own wall of fame.

Daytrotter’s Barnstormer 5: Akron, Ohio

It’s locusts’ last stand!
Foggy field explodes with song
from pine-board boombox

So the good fellas at Daytrotter rolled into sunny, hazy Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Akron yesterday and proceeded to roll out five bands—Wildlife and Doug Paisley (both of Toronto), Princeton (Los Angeles), White Rabbits (Brooklyn via Missouri)  and Hacienda (San Antonio), all distinct in their own sound, all equally impressive—that made for a killer 4+ hour show. They knocked the socks off the crickets and the locusts, and the human audience, too. Sean Moeller and co. hosted Barnstormer 5 in the beautiful centurian barn at the Conrad Botzum Farmstead, and it was smooth sailing, great sound and great people all night long. If you are anywhere near where the ‘Storm is headed (three dates left, tonight in Dexter, MI then on to Monticello, IL and Maquoketa, IA before it’s over), don’t walk, run! And make sure it’s toward it that you are running.

Hacienda at Barnstormer 5, Akron, Ohio


Click here to view Daytrotter: Barnstormer5 Akron, OH photo set on Flickr.

~ Review in Haiku by Shan