Paris Luna and C. Gibbs
It seems to me, the meteorologically challenged, that the weather has been a bit quirky as of late. After the beyond-pleasant spring heat that greened the town up a few weeks back, things have drifted into a cold spell, flowers wilting on their stalks– jackets and scarves creeping out from the cedar chests where they'd hoped to repose 'til fall.
Friday night at Miller's was a prime example of the cold-snap weather effect: whereas before, in the full throes of spring, tables lined the Downtown Mall and sitting outside was worth a wait, now the insides of venues pulsate with the yelpings of life.
I'm a big fan of quiet-Miller's, less so of the crowded, louder version where words must be screamed to be heard above the din. But lucky for me (or unlucky, depending on your point of view), one of the two acts I went to see, Paris Luna, didn't produce much more than a shrug.
C. Gibbs I liked, taking the stage, acoustic guitar and harmonica holder in hand, with a look somewhere between Dylan and a character from a Flannery O'Connor novel. He started off with the harmonica-punctuated slow acoustic ballad, "Honeywell," a song that bears a faint resemblance to Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy," but was plainly written by a more talented artist.
I recognized the piece from Gibbs' latest album, Parade of Small Horses, though he appeared without the band that fleshed out the disc. His voice high and lonesome, his guitar playing simple to the point of austerity, Gibbs seems to have an old soul, one that has seen much and has bottled it all up, only releasing it in his songs. I recognized "Devil's Water" later in the set, a minor-keyed song, half-spoken, half-sung, with harmonica flourishes taking the place of the recorded version's steel guitar, the ghost of Dave Matthews hanging over the "And I can't drink your devil's water, cause I know devil's water isn't right for me" chorus.
My favorite number of the set was "All State Union Song," backed by the booming-every-beat bass drum of a guest drummer, lyrics like "f*cking hunchbacks," and a dark country/blues feel.
Paris Luna and her group had performed at Miller's before, though I missed them the last time (she hails from Georgia), but for at least the beginning of the set it seemed like the noisy Miller's audience was present just for C. Gibbs. Luna played that kind of rootsy woman folk-pop that seems to be the default setting for female singer/songwriters these days, and though she was very talented at this mode of action, it was still fairly innocuous.
Songs seemed to blend together, and aside from my friend remarking on her attractiveness and the disparity between her runway dress and earth-mother sound, and a cover of Steve Miller's Swingtown, my memory of her performance has gone up in smoke. Which is good. I can always use the extra space for storage of hockey stats.
PHOTO MY MÁIRE CORCORAN