Posted January 17, 2015 by Carolyn Sabin in Show Reviews

Nels Cline & Julian Lage // 1-14-15 // Mississippi Studios

20150114NelsClineJulianLage3Unlike most shows at Mississippi Studios, this one was set up with floor seating. Nels Cline, 59, and Julian Lage, 27, walked onto the stage in silence. The duo prepared with a minute of tuning and then began to play without a word or even much notice of the sold out audience.

Each song– from the pair’s new album, Room– began fairly quietly and slowly. Both guitars were connected to small amps, not much bigger than the average lunch box. Their music was mesmerizing and enveloping as the songs tended to build upon themselves. Both guitarists played off of the other, in what could be described as a cat and mouse chase.

Cline, best known for his guitar work with Wilco, played with a bit more freedom and improvisation, whereas, Lage, seemed more intent on hitting each note just so. Cline tended to be mostly stoic while playing while Lage was the opposite; sighing, laughing, smiling and letting out built up momentum from each song. He portrayed a sense of excitement, even in the sometimes unbearable silence of the room.

If you are a fan of the guitar you have most likely heard both of their names previously. Cline is considered by several music publications to be one of the top guitarists of all time. Lage is not far behind, continually gaining notoriety. Throughout the show, each of them would pick up the mic and explain what songs had been played and what was coming up next.  Throughout the night there was little conversational chatter from the performers or the crowd, who was listening intently. Mississippi Studios may have never been so quiet.

Carolyn Sabin



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