Some might say it is too much sadness to see William Fitzsimmons twice in just two days, I say it is just right. I have seen him on the 21. (sold out) and 22. December in Berlin - the last days of his long tour. I loved every second of both gigs.
As always William had a very good support band. Slow Runner not only played before William but also with William. Drummer/Multi-instrumentalist/Producer of Williams latest record “Gold In The Shadow” Josh Kaler played with William during the last tours as well and now Michael Flynn (singer/piano) of Slow Runner has joined on backing vocals and piano - a role which was in female hands beforehand or I just saw women (that also how I felt in love with Laura Jansen and Laura DiStasi). And then there was the third one whose name I forgot, who played bass, some little electronic Korg thing and a little square guitar. He was or is according to William “the most handsome member of the band”. This is handsome guy with square guitar during William’s set.
I enjoyed Slow Runner a lot - the second night was even better than the first and both were more than good. I think the second night was better because it was more energetic (last day of the tour/2nd night in the same city) and I was kind of more relaxed. They make pop music - sometimes almost spheric and sometimes a little louder. I like this variety of their sound. And I like Michael Flynns voice. And I am amazed by Josh Kaler - I have always been amazed by him. He sits there in the back of the stage not only playing drums and glockenspiel and drum computer but he also plays guitar and pedal steel guitar (my new favourite instrument next to the theremin, people should use both more often). While most drummer just sit behind their set, he uses all the width of the stage nowadays. Well, I remember seeing him shuffling all sorts of stuff (also a banjo and so on) behind his kit a couple of month ago and now it just the whole back of the stage.
And you can see and hear that in Slow Runner, in its variety and also in the fine structured melodies. I can say much about the lyrics unfortunately (I didn’t had enough money for the CDs and even though they have the lyrics on their site, I am not sure which songs where played. And I almost never understand then while being sung.) The audience, especially on the second date, enjoyed Slow Runner a lot - I have seen some dancing from the corner of my eyes. Slow Runner also played with William.
William played a couple of old and new songs. Even songs from what he calls his “worst” album “Until When We Are Ghosts” which I dearly love. It’s a very rough album, not polished or anything and that is what I love about it. It’s very boiled down. He played re-worked versions “Funeral Dress” and “Passion Play”. Of course he also played songs of “Goodnight”, “The Sparrow And The Crow” and “Gold In The Shadow”. He played “From The Water” from the deluxe edition of “Gold In The Shadow” - I remember how I heard it the first time in Kiel last year. I love this song - it’s still one of my most favourite from the latest album, along with “Beautiful Girl”.
On the first night I once again had to get used to see him with a band even though I have seen him with a band a couple of times. Don’t know why it is always like that. When he has a band with him, his music feels always a little less sad. It’s difficult to explain - it’s his gentle voice with the acoustic guitar that gets me every time and with a band it’s more than that. Don’t get me wrong, I love him with band just as much but it is a fully different feeling. t’s the fuller sound, more structures and these kind of things. And well, since William is not a screamer, his voice is a little less “hearable”. On the first night I stood right in front of the handsome guy with his accordion (he played that as well in some songs) and then it was partly too loud but the next night I stood somewhere else and it was just perfect.
Michael Flynn on piano, looking very thoughtful:
On the first night he covered Rhianna’s “Umbrella”….well, he started to play a few notes and sung a few words out of a joke and the audience joined for a few words…some did. I didn’t but it was funny. I mean the song get probably 100 times better sang by William but it will never be mine. On the second night the band played “Sweet Home Alabama” and pretty much the whole Heimathafen joined in and handsome guy played accordion. That was funny. But the most hilarious thing was that the band came in checked shirts while William came in a plain jeans shirt. And on top of that the band put on fake beards. Amazing. They were so close to being a William double…. if only the beard would have stayed on. Damn you, double-sided tape for not working properly!
The only thing I found a bit annoying was a photographer (press person/journalist/whatever you call yourself) on the second date who spend the first three songs or so taking photos with his super camera which made annoying click sounds every single time (mine doesn’t that’s why the photos are not so good). It would have been a little less disturbing if there was a loud band and not just a man with a guitar who sings and plays as gentle as William does when he is on his own. He is just not a very loud musician, he is a bit louder when the band is around tho’. But I have moaned about this before and will continue to moan about it because I will always be more a music fan and lover than a press person and therefore often have the view of a fan and not the press. But I got to see William twice, so I couldn’t be happier than that and one or two idiots won’t ruin that. I forgot to ask William when he will be back but I am sure it won’t be too long as I have seen him live almost every 6 month since May 2009 (calculated roughly).
All of them, singing into one microphone (and one in the way), one guitar and a shaker. So, so beautiful. Words are in this case are not enough to describe how wonderful it sounded.
To solve the equation in the title for you:
(William Fitzsimmons)² + (Slow Runner)² = (awesomeness at its best)to the power of four*
I have quite possibly forgotten to mention on thing or the other. You can as always find a few more photos on my flickr.
Thank you for reading,
*How do you do “to the power of four” in html or whatever? &sup4; didn’t work? It would look to much better!