William Fitzsimmons 5/18 2011 @ The Urban Lounge

The night was a night to celebrate facial hair. Not only did we have William Fitzsimmon, also known as king beard, the opening band Slow Runner also displayed some great facial hair that probably isn’t acceptable in normal society, but works really well in the music scene. Michael Flynn sported a great bushy mustache, and Johnathan Grey was reminiscent of Mario with a slightly curled mustache, Josh Kaler was the only one without anything growing on his face. I’m convinced that any more cool decorations of the face would have been too cool so he took the hit for the team and kept his face clean.

Slow Runner was the only band opening up for Fitzy, and later we came to find out that they are also his backing band. Because of that they had plenty of time to play and showed us how diverse their sound could be. They are a trio from Charleston South Carolina with a fairly unique set up. Michael Flynn play’s the keyboard and sings, Johnathan Grey played the bass, the banjo, and the mandolin, and Josh Kaler added the drums, guitar and steel guitar to the mix. Their opening song was a fairly slow song, slow but epic, and reminded me a lot of Low stylistically. With the next few songs they played they really picked up the pace and showed us their fun rockin’ indie side. Michael had some fantastic melodies on his piano and also with his voice. Josh was also very fun to watch. He threw down some interesting rythms on his drum kit while simultaneously playing a xylophone. Each song they played was a little different and brought something new to the table. They were a great opener.

William Fitzsimmons had a great interaction with the crowd, and a great self awareness. He was always making light of how he’s written “400 albums on divorce” and how sad all of his music is, he made jokes about his beard, and it just added a lot to the night. Outside of him being a funny guy he played fantastic, his singing was spot on, his guitar playing was great, and it was fun to have Slow Runner come on for a lot of the songs and add their pizaz. He played a good mix from all of his albums, and the only song I wished he would have played that he didn’t was “Shattered.” The songs he did play that I really enjoyed were “Passion Play,” “Beautiful Girl,” “The Tide Pulls From The

Moon,” “Find it in Me,” and, well, most of the songs played. For his last song of his encore all four guys unplugged and came down into the crowd and played among us. It was kind of hard to hear since he sings in such hushed tones, but overall it was very cool and was a great way to end the night. Here’s a picture of his setlist if you’re curious as to the other songs he played. For his encore he played “Mend Your Heart,” and two or three other songs that I couldn’t recognize or have forgotten. One was a song from Until When We Were Ghosts and one was from Gold in the Shadow.

This was definitely one of the more somber concerts that I have been to. There was a sadness that settled over the crowd and at times it seemed almost palpable. I think that is a testament to how emotionally charged William Fitzsimmons’ music is. It is very close and personal to Fitzimmons himself and he explained that’s why he tried to present more of  a reconciliation in Gold in the Shadow. In his own words he didn’t want to end up one of those guys jumping off of a bridge in a couple of years. I’m kind of excited for the swing in moods for his music. No, I don’t think Gold in the Shadow lives up to some of his previous works, but I think that there is a lot of potential with him moving in that direction, and I look forward to seeing what else he can come up with.

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