With a pair of sunglasses perched atop his head, Brokaw sits on a stool centre stage and accompanies himself on electric guitar and foot-operated percussion. What's most surprising about the evening is the amount of musical diversity he's able to extract from such limited instrumentation
Paul Nolan, 06 Sep 2002
Thurston Moore-lookalike Chris Brokaw has been a prolific presence on the US underground scene for the past decade or so. He has played in numerous bands, but his most notable ventures have probably been daringly-named Boston outfit Come, and the little-known but excellent Pullman, whose members also include Chicago alt-rock guru Bundy K. Brown and Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs. However, tonight he’s in town to promote his solo debut Red Cities.
With a pair of sunglasses perched atop his head, Brokaw sits on a stool centre stage and accompanies himself on electric guitar and foot-operated percussion. What’s most surprising about the evening is the amount of musical diversity he’s able to extract from such limited instrumentation. ‘The Fields’ – a song he introduces as being about “hunting Gary Glitter in the fields of Cambodia” – aside from being mercifully sans lyrics, is a wailing guitar thrash, whilst ‘The Beach’ – another instrumental – is a beautiful, shimmering six-string odyssey, and as such the highlight of the evening.
Brokaw comes a cropper slightly on the more standard singer-songwriter stuff, which, while decent, is for the most part nothing that hasn’t been done better by Steve Malkmus or Evan Dando. After dropping a superb Pullman number into the set, he closes with a final, feedback drenched guitar salvo. It, like the gig as a whole, is something of a skewed treat.