Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Kid Is Alright: Simon Townshend Solo

I saw Simon Townshend perform last night at NYC's Joe's Pub. I was there for every reason imaginable except for Simon himself. I have nothing against the man. It just wasn't a show I needed to see. But circumstances placed me in a very cool seat at the bar, not far from some old friends who insisted I wouldn't be disappointed. Thank you, old friends. I wasn't.

Prior to last night, I hadn't heard a single note of Townshend's music. I put it in my head that I'd witness a set full of Who covers replete with anecdotes about big brother and some mediocre originals. A bit unfair to Simon, I admit, but I can't change how I felt.

This 90+ minute set was remarkable. You can't escape the similarity between Pete and Simon if you tried. Kid brother's voice is powerful and intense and beautiful, like a younger Pete. The songs are personal and dark and emotional, like a younger Pete. But I don't want to sell Simon Townshend short. He is beyond capable and just about every song performed from his new record "Looking Out Looking In" was a delight. Love songs, confessionals about family and demons, and rockers about guitars were all simply fantastic.

He played a handful of newer songs, as well. One of them was the highlight of the evening, "Denial." Stunning, and if I may say so, something as strong as anything on any of Pete's solo records. It's posted at the top.

Check out "Looking Out, Looking In," if you can.  It's wonderful. And I'm thrilled I got to see the mighty Simon Townshend do it all live, with just his guitar.

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