Today there are newer artists who also hail from this part of the Emerald State -- Modest Mouse started in nearby Issaquah and Death Cab For Cutie in Bellingham. Seattle is also home to Harvey Danger whose song Flagpole Sitta has one of my favorite lines -- "been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding." It also has the line, "and I don't even own a TV." Which brings me to the formerly TV-less Casey James, who was rocking out in Seattle Friday night.
We have a mixed bag of video, some great, some incomplete, but enough to piece together almost all of Casey's songs. It's All Over Now has some new footwork (much involving maneuvering around an errant cord) as well as some new guitar playing (I was going to add, "with no errant chords," but that's too punny even for me). I should also take a moment to add that as someone who cares a great deal about grammar, I wonder if we could change the title of his first song to I Have Mine. I'm just thinking of impressionable children whose future SAT scores hang in the balance.
Videos: Okay, fine, here are the videos from the Key Arena:
I Got Mine
Casey seemed particularly into it tonight. Maybe it was the layoff of a couple days? Maybe it was being in the hometown of the legendary Hendrix? Maybe he -- as I once wrote -- really does need to play the way there rest of us need to breathe air. Whatever the reason, he really appeared to feel it even more than usual. This was a particularly dynamic performance.
Sadly, the video stops abruptly, and prematurely, but it's still great to hear his take on this song.
Casey's voice sounds amazing. Maybe he drank a Red Bull before the show -- he seemed more animated while playing the guitar on this song.
It's All Over Now
I figured it out. They probably sampled the coffee at every Pike's, Seattle's Best and Starbucks they found. That would explain Casey just ripping it up like a maniac.
The Seattle Times reviewer had this to say of Casey James:
If young Kelly deserves a shot at the recording game, the lanky blond Texan hunk Casey James has justifiably scored one. He's been signed by Sony, and proved his mettle at the Key with blazing guitar and vocal renditions of "It's All Over Now" and the Black Keys' "I Got Mine."I'm assuming it would be a dream come true for Casey to be mentioned in the same breath as Jimi Hendrix. Kudos to Casey!
Though dressed down in tousled hair and scruffy jeans, James adorned himself with four (or was it five?) different guitars, including a nifty turquoise electric model. And talent-wise, he's the real deal, a Southern rocker with a bluesy growl (and none of that irritating vibrato he used on TV), and instrumental chops that suggest a deep immersion in the ways of Allman and Hendrix.
Seattle PI Music wrote of Casey's performances:
Moving into the top three, Casey James brought down the house with a dazzling display of guitar soloing on The Black Keys' "I Got Mine." James received high marks during Idol for his instrumental prowess, but due to time constraints his solos were always limited to a few bars. In concert, he unleashed a torrent of blues rock fury that brought nearly everyone at the Key Arena to their feet. His vocals were excellent as well, arguably more convincing than anything he did on the television show. Shania Twain's "Don't!" allowed for a tender moment with far more restrained guitar work, as James switched from acoustic to electric for the solo.The reviewer, with BlogCritics.com, added at the end of the review, just in case his position wasn't clear enough: Casey James emerged as the true star of season nine, displaying such impressive ability on lead guitar that he overshadowed everything else.
Joined by Michael Lynche, James dueted on "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" which was a popular moment during season nine. I would've preferred something from James on his own, as my tolerance level for that insipid Bryan Adams ballad is very low. James closed his set with some ferocious slide guitar as he tore through "It's All Over Now," which he first performed during Rolling Stones week of Idol. A common complaint about Casey James during his time on the show was a lack of stage presence. He seemed to wash away any doubts regarding his charisma, working hard to give the fans their money's worth.
Well, well, look who's coming into his own just as the AI tour is about to end and the rest of his life as an artist independent of AI is beginning. Now who predicted that again? Ouch, I could pull something patting myself on the back like that!
Finally, a fan's experience of meeting with Casey after the show is on page 85 of Jamestown II on Castrocopia. Well worth the read!
ClickChick posted a review of the concert on MJsBigBlog and here is the excerpt concerning Casey:
Holy cats! Who was that guy tearing up the stage using the name Casey James ’cause he he sure as heck is not the same guy I saw on American Idol. This Casey was a raw and powerful performer who displayed not even an ounce of stage fright or discomfort. This Casey delivered gritty pitch-perfect vocals accompanied by a ton of charisma. He worked the stage like a pro frequently losing himself in the music and the audience ate it up.