Review: Damien Jurado Performs in Pittsburgh

We sent Ledcat to review the Damien Jurado performance with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust – Sue

Damien Jurado Pittsburgh
Photo: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

I have listened to Damien Jurado on WYEP for years, but did not own any of his records and had never seen him in concert. I knew his music from the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country and knew it to be atmospheric and deep. He came to Pittsburgh to the Greer Cabaret Theatre which seemed to be an odd place to perform. One of the employees announced before the show that the theatre sat 250 people. It did not seat that many when I saw Jurado on May 20. The theatre was about 3/4 filled which is a shame because it was an opportunity to see him in an intimate space.

Jurado came on promptly at 8:15 pm and played until 9:30. He then said “goodnight,” and promptly left the stage. No encore, which disappointed the audience. One audience member remarked that it was one of the weirdest concerts he had been at. I would not got quite that far.

Between 8:15 and 9:30. Jurado played, as he stated, 14 or so albums worth of songs. His songs are intricate and, as he said during the show, “sad songs.” They are also filled with interesting characters and observations. I don’t mind sad music, as long as it is GOOD sad music. And his music is good. He just played on an acoustic guitar, with no backing band. I should note at this point that I am not an official music critic. I just know what I like, and I liked what I heard. I am going to purchase his latest album and perhaps some of his other ones as well. I would urge you to do the same.

In between the songs he pattered with the audience telling of being an opening act for a comedy show (this is where he mentioned that his songs are sad and wondered what they were thinking when they booked him). He also told of moving from Washington State to Los Angeles and to bumping into the actress Amy Adams. The stuff he said in between songs was, in my opinion, pretty funny. When toward the end of the show he said he was going to stop talking and play songs, a woman in the audience said, “Thank God,” and he promptly heckled her (as well as two men who got up and left during the concert–to go to the restroom). He then said it was his prerogative to heckle people, which I agree. Many audiences today are boorish. For the most part this audience was not badly behaved, thank god.

So, if you get a chance to see him in concert I would, it is an experience and he is a gifted songwriter and musician. We’ve included the vide of his NPR Tiny Desk Concert to give you a taste of his intimate performances.

The Greer Cabaret Theater in the heart of the Cultural District provides unique live music and theatrical performances year-round. The 260-seat venue features the adjacent Backstage Bar, which offers an outstanding list of premium wines, spirits, specialty drinks and beers to complement a casual food menu. For a complete cabaret experience, CLO ticket holders may simply arrive up to 90 minutes before curtain to enjoy food & beverage service inside the theater. No additional reservations are needed, and service is available before the show as well as during intermission. Look for upcoming performances here. 


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