Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ed Harcourt at House of Blues Anaheim

I caught Ed Harcourt open for James at House of Blues Anaheim on Oct. 12. Here's a quick rundown...

Harcourt has been putting out acclaimed chamber pop albums for nearly a decade. The Brit’s latest, “Lustre,” is easily his best since 2001’s Mercury Music Prize-nominated “Here Be Monsters.” Backed by a bassist and drummer in Anaheim, Harcourt went on early at the Mouse House (I enjoy the rare occasions when you don’t have to wait an eternity for a show to start there).

His 45-minute, 10-song set kicked off with the lovely “Lustre,” the first of six selections from that album (see my review on this blog). Despite admitting to self-described end-of-tour fatigue (“we’re a bit bedraggled”), Harcourt’s initially ragged vocals only took a few songs to open up. It helped that he utilized various effects with three microphones at the keyboards.

Standouts included “Church of No Religion,” with Harcourt on acoustic guitar and a luxurious flow. The discordant piano of “God Protect Your Soul” was definitely haunting, while “Heart of a Wolf” had a Dresden Dolls feel plus an ending electric guitar freakout by Harcourt. Then the alluring “Until Tomorrow Then” found the singer utilizing a bullet mike to get up close and personal with the crowd and do some high fives. Some truly heartfelt vocals on "Fears of a Father" capped things off. Definitely worth seeing as a headliner. Hope Harcourt returns to the States in the near future.

Lustre/Church of No Religion/God Protect Your Soul/Haywired/Heart of a Wolf/(unknown)/Shadowboxing/Do As I Say, Not As I Do/Until Tomorrow Then/Fears of a Father

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