I've seen many in-store acoustic performances at Good Records, but Neil Halstead's recent one was probably one of the best I've ever seen. Not to over-hype things too much, but his 50-minute set was nothing short of fantastic. Even with false starts and forgotten lyrics.
This past Saturday, Jenny and I walked up to Good about 20 minutes before "show time" and we found none other than Jimmy Menkena talking with Neil. Menkena's band is planning on featuring Slowdive's "Machine Gun" on their next record, so it was very apt to see the two of them talking. Noticing my Slowride shirt, Neil said he had never heard of Slowride, the great Dallas punk band. Sure was nice to introduce him to at least the name.
I mentioned to Neil about the last time he was in town (10-ish years ago) when he played the Gypsy Tea Room. I was fortunate to interview him with my friends Brad and Nick, and we even met Sid Hillman, Neil's opening act who happened to be from Kingwood. I wasn't expecting him to remember me or my friends, but I certainly remember the whole evening. It was one of the best shows I saw in the tea room, given how intimate things were since Neil only played with his acoustic guitar and harmonica.
This in-store featured a few new songs from his latest record, and he then took requests. He honored shouts for "Who Do You Love," "In Love with a View," "Prayer for the Paranoid," and "Sarah." Once he opened his mouth, I was immediately reminded of why I love Neil's work, solo, with Slowdive or Mojave 3. He might sing in a whisper, but it's so delicate and soothing at the same time.
I'm happy that this was the first show I took Jenny to. She might have not known Neil's work before, but she came away satisfied and a fan. This certainly helped the show experience, and she was kind enough to take a picture of me with Neil. Now to make a Mojave 3 compilation for her, happily sharing this fantastic music . . .