"This song will not be on the next album, it will be on the one after that", David Bronson explained before leading a truncated version of his backing band the Long Lost through a dynamite new song, "Push". Based upon a bass lick, it is Bronson's powerful mix of song and analysis, his voice perhaps a touch too light but he pushes the throttle down on the song and bends it towards us.
I've waited to see Bronson since loving Story Part 2 and this was not the Bronson set of of my dreams.. The set was way too short, I was hoping for 75 minutes and barely got 30, despite having only released one album, he certainly has enough first class material to fill the time. For another, I missed a drummer. It is not exactly that I felt short shrifted, but I would have liked to hear some thunder with the lightning.
But that's about it as far as complaints go. Maria Neckam on keyboards is a luminous presence with a sweet voice (she performs solo at Shapeshifters in Brooklyn on Tuesday) and sitting on a stool in jumper and wooly hat was a goofy but very very steady bassist Robbie Mangano. In the center is a very controlled David, playing songs made to be jammed on, intricate pieces of sound that lock into visions of loss and renewal. Bronson attacks his acoustic guitar, making up for the missing band members with a full out punch that punctuates with a wry smile. David is so centered he resist the urge too do anything to distract from the song itself. He should inflate his ego on some of these terrific songs!
With his thick dark beard and gleaming intense eyes, Bronson looks like a minor Old Testament prophet and in his consistent vision of Earth as a move forward he comes across like a man on a mission to understand what is happening to him. There is something New Age about it, it is like the progressive bent of the music mirrors the progressive feel for his life. "Life Is Long" he sings on one of his most magnificent songs, another new one, and David's concern with the quality of the soul, careful how we use it, is spiritual even if that isn't the intent.
Oddly, with the exception of "Momentary" the evening belonged to the new songs. Listening to the chorus to "Passing Fiction" for the first time ever was unbelievable, before the damn song is over you are waiting to hear it again, "just keep looking and you'll find" he advises and as so often happens with Bronson, the vibe is positive. Speaking to him before the show, Bronson mentioned listening to Sea Changes and Tonight's The Night and listening to the show, both albums are the antithesis to Bronson in their emotional fragility but the moods have similarities. The thing about Story 2 is, perhaps, that it happens after the fall and all the songs are on the upside. It is like the Star Wars movie, A New Beginning to quote Heidegger "The dreadful has already happened".
On stage Bronson is a complete pro. He manages his band and and his audience with a gentle smartness. Despite the makeshift nature of the set, after Superstorm Nemo stranded a couple of members of the band and Mangano was forced to restring his guitar into a bass, despite the lack of rehearsal time or God knows a soundcheck, and despite the shortness of the set, Bronson triumphed. David's wife told me he has five albums of songs written and I can't wait to hear them all.
No, not the Bronson of my dreams but still a dream Bronson.