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  PEDRO THE LION w/ Damion Jurado and T.W. Walsh  
  The El Rey  
  Los Angeles, CA  
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I must admit that I've been waiting for this show for quite some time, even though I can't really listen to Pedro the Lion anymore. This is entirely due to personal history, and I have found that it does not apply to the new record, which is a very good album. Past events aside, I've always liked their music.

On the other hand, I've never completely gotten Damion Jurado's music. In fact, it normally puts me directly to sleep. The new record, with (Pedro leader) David Bazan producing, really rocks.

Seeing as how both artists helped produce each other's latest releases, I was excited to see them on tour together. The El Rey is also one of my favourite venues -- always with superb sound and plenty of space.

As I arrived I could hear T.W. Walsh starting his set to a half capacity crowd. The music was good . . . well, actually very close to what I was expecting from the two headliners. The vocals, however, left much to be desired. The singer was consistently under pitch, which caused a chain reaction within the band that left me having trouble seeing how they kept playing. The sound also was not quite right, with vocals too high and way too much bass drum. I was in store for a long night of pounding, I could tell already.

Damion Jurado came on stage next, and I was actually shocked. I've never seen him before so his appearance really through me off. He's an offensive lineman with indie rock sensibilities, I swear! His music, for those unfamiliar, is somewhere etween the indie-emo stylings of onelinedrawing or Pedro the Lion, but with the assertiveness of what I call "Lumberjack Rock" (aka Creed, Puddle of Mudd, etc.). The best parts from both, I promise! Jurado's band was well prepared as they played predominantly new songs and really created a lively feel for the room. Jurado took questions and then bantered with the crowd. It was great and yes, I was bouncing to the tunes.

Pedro the Lion took the stage rather quickly, which made sense considering that Pedro and Jurado were sharing half of the backing band: the bassist and lead guitarist were the same for both sets. David Bazan (who I always want to call Pedro), quickly announced that he may play one or two old songs and that this performance would consist mainly of the new songs. In fact, they only played two songs that were not on the new record, Control. The performance of the new songs went well and sounded very close to the record. However, there seemed to be less spark in their performance than I would have liked. Pedro the Lion records always seemed to lack a certain energy, and their live performance was much the same. Just a little bit of action would have won me over, but the stage stayed relatively dead throughout the show.

Overall the show was about an average night out. Damion Jurado created some really good moments, but the rest of the performances fell short of creating similar emotion in myself and in the rest of the crowd. Even my friends, solid Pedro fans in their own right, felt a bit sleepy toward the end of the performance. I'd recommend seeing them live only if you are a fan and haven't yet. Damion Jurado, however, I would recommend to anyone, as his song writing and performances are fun and emotional.

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