TICKETS  £9.50 Adv / £11 On the Door

Gelb is a real one off and the chance to see him perform solo is going to be a treat not to be missed.  His back catalogue of over 40 albums have been recorded under a myriad of pseudonums, Giant Sand, Band of Blacky Ranchette, Arizona Amp and Alternator and OP8 to name just a handful, and he’s also responsible for throwing together the creative pairing of Joey Burns and John Convertino.  As two former Giant Sand members, they went on to form Mariachi tinged, spaghetti Western outfit, Calexico during a ‘break’ from their duties with said band.

Through probably best described as fitting in to the Americana tradition of songwriting, Gelb’s never stuck to one sound, band or instrument.  He’s just as likely to be battling with some Cross-grained guitar squawks and feedback as to be foot tapping along to a country blues tune that sounds far older than its writer.  Take, for example the live shows of 2000 where looped walkman recordings of previous gigs were layered in to his performance and then 2006s Sno’ Angel album which was recorded with a 10 piece gospel choir.  He doesn’t sit still and he doesn’t do the same thing twice.  Most recent (sixteenth) Giant Sand album, Provisions features collaborations with Neko Case, Isobel Campbell and M. Ward.

Despite the varying incarnations there is always something inherently solid, grounded and familiar in the music Gelb produces.  Even though on first listen some tracks (and even whole albums) sound like sketches or outlines of an idea, you’d be mistaken if you took this to be a slapdash approach. Far from that, it’s more that the recordings are a snap shop moment of that point in time.  What could be seen as flaws in the music are actually where the appeal for his music comes from and this is in his open and unabashed baring of his music and lyrics.

Recommended tracks :

Giant Sand’s cover of Neil Young’s Music Arcade and Howe Gelb’s The Farm and Neon Filler

Check these videos out: (giant sand – shiver) (giant sand – yer ropes) (giant sand – remote) (yer ropes – live)