City Paper is not for tourists
Club-circuit perks (free drinks! rowdy crowds!) be damned—David Bazan’s graduated to the seated concert. Although he’s never been as technically ambitious as Built to Spill or as popular as fellow Pacific Northwesterners Death Cab for Cutie, the former Pedro the Lion frontman’s reflective, guitar-driven indie rock has helped him maintain a fan base for almost two decades. And like high school classmate Damien Jurado, whose recent work with producer Richard Swift has yielded noteworthy psychedelic folk, Bazan’s burnished his solid songwriting foundation with some late-career experiments during production. Teaming up with the Passenger String Quartet after a successful one-off show, Bazan returned to the studio with the group to rearrange some of his older work, including several Pedro the Lion classics, some solo tracks, and even material from his synth-driven side project, the Headphones. The result is Bazan’s most interesting record in years. Pedro the Lion rode to minor league indie fame on the back of Bazan’s emotive strumming and warbling baritone; while his current vocals seem almost unchanged, his six-string takes a backseat to the Passenger String Quartet’s melancholy arrangements. The songs bear little resemblance to their originals save Bazan’s unmistakable vocals, but the sonic leap will be well worth it for longtime fans who’ll enjoy seeing old classics in a new form. Oct. 28 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. $20–$25.