Sing Loud While You’re Able

Glen Phillips played at SOhO Restaurant and Music Club in Santa Barbara, CA on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. I’d missed the last couple solo shows Glen has played, so I was pretty excited to get to this one. It was a slightly nerve-wrecking drive out of L.A that Tuesday evening due to various accidents on the highway and it took even longer than it normally does to get out of town. I made it to the venue about 20 minutes before the show was to start and ordered my dinner promptly. I don’t particularly like to be eating when the musicians are on stage, but so be it, I was just happy to arrive before the music started.


Curran+Freya Performing at SOhO

Curran+Freya opened, blending their two young voices in harmony over a set of three covers, as Curran accompanied on guitar.  They commenced with “Big Jet Plane” by Angus and Julia Stone, which was a funny coincidence to me because I had heard the song “Paper Aeroplane” not too long ago by Angus and Julia Stone, and thought it would be a good one for Curran+Freya to cover. These two could cover any of Angus and Julia’s songs well, as their voices convincingly match in timbre and the duo sing with a similarly light, vulnerable and delicate, yet confident style.  Next they sang “Lovesong” by The Cure, which Freya has previously covered with her dad, Glen. Vocally it was another pretty rendition, but a few more years of life experience will help them find the passion and longing in this song.  The pair concluded with a cover of Damien Rice’s song “Volcano.”

I find it difficult to write about Glen, being in the position where I have seen him perform many times and have chatted with him sometimes after shows. He remains a voice of wisdom to me, even if he is just synthesizing ideas from the books he reads or other people’s ideas, as he alluded to in one of his comments that evening. Glen has provided numerous interviews when touring with his band Toad the Wet Sprocket or in regard to his solo work that can be found online and he consistently comes across as an intelligent and compassionate man. If you study through the back catalog of his songs lyrics, you will likely reach the same conclusion. Prior to this concert he gave an incredibly well-spoken, in-depth, and open interview for the Santa Barbara Independent (though slight error at the top, he is not ex-Toad, the band is touring together this summer), which is worth reading.


Glen Phillips Performs at SOhO

Before I head on to the set list, one interesting note — Glen recently played an online StageIt concert in which he performed all the songs off his solo debut Abulum, which just had its 15 year anniversary of being released. He remarked that there were a few of those he hadn’t had in his solo rotation that he might start incorporating, but then did not play any songs from Abulum that night! He did play a bunch of new songs, including a few that appeared on a recently released album of songs recorded live at Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA, aptly titled Live at the Belly Up.  The set list at SOhO included:

  1. The Next Day” from Mr. Lemons
  2. Baptistina” from Live at the Belly Up
  3. Courage” from Winter Pays for Summer
  4. End This Now” from Works Progress Administration (WPA)
  5. True” from Winter Pays for Summer
  6. Rise Up” from Works Progress Administration (WPA)
  7. Last to Fall” from the deluxe version of New Constellation and the Architect of the Ruin EP (Toad the Wet Sprocket)
  8. Gimme Sympathy” – Metric Cover
  9. The Easy Ones” from Live at the Belly Up, Freya joined him on harmony at Soho
  10. Walk On the Ocean” from Fear (Toad the Wet Sprocket)
  11. Go” unreleased song
  12. Held Up” unreleased song and the first time he has played it in an “uncontrolled environment”
  13. Amnesty” unreleased song
  14. Gather” from Winter Pays for Summer
  15. Always Have My Love” from Works Progress Administration (WPA)
  16. My Criminal Career” unreleased song
  17. Grief & Praise” from Live at the Belly Up — I borrowed a line from this song for the title of the post
  18. Finally Fading” from Winter Pays for Summer
  19. Released” from Winter Pays for Summer
  20. All I Want” from Fear (Toad the Wet Sprocket)
  21. Everything But You” from Mr. Lemons 

Glen Phillips, Living In the Song

When Glen performed his StageIt show on the day that Prince died, he began a cover of “When Doves Cry” just before the timer automatically ran out on the show. We got to hear about one verse of it. When he came back on the stage at SOhO for his encore, people started hollering suggestions for songs and I shouted out “When Doves Cry.”  He introduced the song by saying this was probably the one chance he had to perform it and then broke into a rhythmic cover of it. It was likely that he was going to play the song anyway, but it felt good to me that we were on the same page.  The guy sitting at my table (possibly named Michael), who had arrived just as the show began, started singing along with some nice little backing vocals.  The audience got on board for the final chorus. It was a special moment, which I captured on video and you can find linked here: When Doves Cry — Glen Phillips Covers Prince. He finished the show with a standard closer from his repertoire, “Don’t Need Anything” from Winter Pays for Summer.  I may have arrived to his show with my “cup 1/16 full,” but it was overflowing by the end of the set.


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