J. Tillman, Nice N’Sleazy’s, 9th October 2009


I was due to go along to this show on Friday night, but having left for Glasgow late I discovered that one of my front headlights had blown so I could not drive on the M8 to get there.  To say I was gutted is an understatement as I had been looking forward to this show all week.  My good friend Heidi Kuisma did attend the show though and I asked her to write a few words about it for me.  So here’s her review of the show.  Enjoy.

“I’m in Scotland for the first time, there are all these wonderful
whiskeys to choose from and I’m drinking gin & tonics” wonders Pearly
Gate Music’s Zach Tillman between the songs while scratching his head.
He is providing the support for tonight’s headliner J Tillman (his
brother whose touring band he also plays in) with music which is
influenced by folk and country. It is simple and honest and his half
an hour set flies past quickly setting the mood perfectly for the rest
of the evening. After he leaves there is warm anticipation in the air
and the crowd approaches the stage and finds a spot on the floor to
sit on.

I hadn’t heard J Tillman’s name or music until just a few days before
the gig, but I’m glad Euan pointed me in his direction.  J Tillman is
perhaps more notably known as the drummer or Fleet Foxes and he has
also toured with  Damien Jurado, but this gig was proof that he is a
musician in his own right and capable of being a charismatic front
man.  He owns the stage, his presence is undeniable, and not only
because of his over 6 feet frame, long hair and great big lumberjack
beard.  He looks comfortable and at ease on stage.  There is plenty of
friendly banter and anecdotes between the songs making his sense of
humour evident and the gig float forward without a noticeable effort.

J Tillman’s voice has special quality to it.  It is beautiful, it is
delicate and soft, never out of control.  The quiet bits of the music
are quiet, loud ones are loud, there are also more experimental noise
moments with a large cymbal, accordions and bells adding to the sound
making it interesting and captivating.  It all fits together perfectly,
his honest voice being the binding element.

The crowd is good.  They give him the respect he deserves, and you
ought to for a great man, both in stature and character, like J
Tillman.  There are a few ‘shh’s to quiet a couple of ignorant chatters
but overall people are attentive, they listen, they appreciate his
music making the gig a beautiful experience.  By the time New Imperial
Brand Blues from his album Vacilando Territory Blues finishes they
have overrun their allocated time by ten minutes, making their set an
hour and half long, but they most certainly haven’t overstayed their
welcome.  A simple ‘thank you’ and the band are gone leaving me with a
smile on my face and a new favourite band to listen to those evenings
you just want to relax and forget about the world.


4 thoughts on “J. Tillman, Nice N’Sleazy’s, 9th October 2009

  1. “J Tillman is perhaps more notably known as the drummer of Fleet Foxes” – it must be frustrating for him to so often be described as if FF (which is very late in the day for him, and not his music, but Pecknold’s folk-lite) was his main gig and ‘solo material’ a side project, whereas of course it is completely the other way around – he has been solo for that long that many of the discs that people are catching up on now (including minor works) are actually re-releases of out of print material – nice review nevertheless – go back and check out cancer & delirium if you haven’t yet

  2. Well, I think Heidi makes a fair point actually. He is probably best known these days for being the Fleet Foxes drummer. But I agree. It’s a shame as all his stuff is gorgeous. I know about his records on Keep Recordings, I just don’t own them. Wonderful artist though so I will be going back through his catalogue as soon as.

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