Review: Cass McCombs Guitar Playing Mermerizes at Warhol Sound Series

When I send Laura, Sarah, and Elijah off to review the arts, I never know where they end up with the written review. Everything is fair game from the parking and seating situation to the representation of the cast to the LGBTQ politics of the show. We are not professional reviewers, but our collective points of view about the arts hopefully encourage you to get yourself to a production soon. ~ Sue

Cass McCombs, photo by Ebru Yildiz

He utilized various pedals and devices to produce an atmospheric, reverb heavy sound. The sound reminded me of the way thunderstorms sound in the summer.

On Saturday, January 21, 2023, I went to the Warhol Museum to see the Cass McCombs show. I have heard his music on WYEP and have read about him on Pitchforkmedia, but don’t own any of his music and have never seen him live. The price of admission at the Warhol is $20.00 so it’s an incredibly affordable way to see some great live music and support the museum. The concert was held inside the main hall. The acoustics were great and I was able to stand in front of the stage.

I’m going to warn folks again that I’m not a musician…I can’t read music, I can’t play an instrument and I can’t sing so I only give my laywoman’s perspective about concerts. With that said, Cass McCombs has a warm engaging singing voice. He went on stage about 8 PM and played, and sang, without interruption, until about 9:30. He left the stage briefly, then came back to play a two song encore. He did not engage in any witty banter with the audience, which was fine by me. He played fourteen songs during his regular set. Many of his songs were about a higher power/space and told stories about various characters. I appreciate singers who tell complete stories in their songs, they remind me of the old days when musicians frequently built an album around stories. One of his songs really struck me, Dreams-Come-True-Girl, because it had a vintage 1950’s rockabilly feet to it.

Cass McCombs guitar playing was mesmerizing. He utilized various pedals and devices to produce an atmospheric, reverb heavy sound. The sound reminded me of the way thunderstorms sound in the summer. I admire anyone who can play an instrument, and the guitar is one of my all-time favorite instruments. I know how hard it can be to learn to play and to play it well as I briefly took guitar lessons when I was a kid with visions of becoming a rock god. Didn’t happen. I liked the fact that the guitar, and guitar solos, were front and center in all of the songs. 

One thing I’ve noticed about attending shows at the Warhol is the lack of audience members talking through the music. I appreciate the fact that the crowd was very into the music and didn’t feel inclined to talk and ruin other people’s enjoyment. Another factor is I feel completely safe attending these shows. My significant other worried about whether I, as a member of the LGBT community would be safe, and I feel that I am. It seems to be, based upon my impression, that the audience is, if not comprised of many LGBT people, at least LGBT friendly. 

So, this is my review, as it were. Based upon the concert, I’m going to buy Cass McComb’s music and hopefully see him play live again.       

Check out the Warhol Sound Series lineup.

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