Thursday, November 17, 2011

Concert Review: Robert Schwartzman in Columbus, Ohio

Sometimes, the way I run things around here is a bit unfair. For example, Robert Schwartzman was not the headliner for this concert, yet he's the one I'm primarily going to review. There is a reason for this though: I don't feel that I can give a fair review of someone whose material I am unfamiliar with. Concerts are much more enjoyable for me when I know the songs being performed and it's not fair to take that sort of thing out on the other acts. So excuse me, if you will, as I review an opening act primarily.

Robert Schwartzman and his band.

Robert Schwartzman and his band took the stage at just after 8. The girls to my left greeted him with a giddy chorus of "we love you Robert!," to which he replied in falsetto, "thank you!" The band opened up with "Out of My Mind," a great opener, but something I would have expected to come a little later had they been the main act. From there, they moved through the remainder of the first four songs off of the album in order. Everything sounded great, all the notes in place. Even "Someone 2 Love," which was probably my least favorite song from the album, sounded great live. The keyboardist, whose name never seemed to be brought up, was amazing. It wasn't just her ability to pound the keys either, she seemed to have an incredible presence on-stage. After "You Don't Have to Lie," they moved into "Funny Money." At the close of "Funny Money," someone in the audience yelled something about moving on to Ocean Grove, jolting a polite reaction from Schwartzman, followed by a much faster "Love Is All Around." "Just a Dream Away," which was one of my favorite tracks, came off wonderfully. I somehow thought it would have been difficult to pull off live, but they managed. The band closed their set with "Innermission" and "I Know Why," and the drummer, keyboardist and bassist left the stage, leaving Schwartzman on alone to perform an acoustic rendition of the Rooney song "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" before leaving the stage. It sounded really great, and made the fans of Rooney in the audience quite happy. Personally, I would have been content without it, but I appreciated it anyway, along with the fact that he cared to think what his fans would want to hear.

Because the other acts weren't ones I was familiar with, I joined the rest of the Schwartzman fans in heading for the merch table at this point. I exercised my usual inability to pick from two cool designs by purchasing both of the shirts he had out. Just as I'd slung them both over my shoulder, someone rested a hand on my shoulder the way my brother will often do. As I turned around to say something, assuming it was my brother, I found myself face-to-face with Robert Schwartzman. I got my CD signed and he thanked me for coming and gave me a hug. I did my best to thank him for his music, but Ocean Grove had already taken the stage and I'm not sure my quiet voice got through.

From here, I joined my brother in the seats at the edge of the room and watched Ocean Grove perform. Ocean Grove went on second, despite the fact that they were billed as the headliner. They were very loud, but fun and enjoyable. I hadn't realized until he announced it, that lead singer of Ocean Grove, John Lloyd Taylor, is the same man from JR & Jr, a side-project with Robert Schwartzman. He called Schwartzman to the stage and they performed "Emily" from the JR & Jr ep.

Ocean Grove joined by Robert Schwartzman. Photo by Gareth Sedam

Ocean Grove finished their set and Voxhaul Broadcast took to the stage. I still wasn't familiar with any of their material, but Voxhaul Broadcast had a strange kind of energy and rhythm that attracted me back near the stage. Their instrumental parts were very cool. When Voxhaul Broadcast closed the show, the evening felt as though it had been ended prematurely somehow. I wandered out to my truck still feeling a little like there was another act yet to come (there wasn't).


  1. Hey, we met in line at the merch table last night. I am kind of digging your blog. I know what you mean about the night seeming like it ended early, weekday shows always seem to end like that. I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about Ocean Grove performing before Voxhaul Broadcast, even though they were supposed to be the headliner.

  2. Hi! Thanks very much.
    I meant to mention that, you're right! I wrote my review really early this morning and I forgot to say that in the end.