LIVE: Patrick Watson Burned Bright at The Casbah (6/6/2015)

Earnest crooning and intriguing set decorations brought the singer-songwriter’s music to life

Patrick Watson
June 6, 2015
The Casbah
San Diego, California

It’s pretty safe to say that anyone who was at San Diego’s Casbah on Saturday night left feeling significantly more human, having just experienced an immense sensory overload at the hands of Patrick Watson. Watson’s latest album, Love Songs for Robots, nods to the often-suffocating technological world that we live in and questions its influence on the most instinctive aspects of human nature.  And it became quite apparent that Watson’s live performance was determined to drive Love Songs’ message home in full force.

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The cozy Casbah stage was thoughtfully decorated with a handful of large Edison lightbulb fixtures that conveniently brought Robot’s cover art to mind and mimicked the ebb and flow of Watson’s music. The visual stimulation intensified the Polaris Prize winner’s set, with the bulbs growing blindingly bright alongside his soulful and unwavering falsetto and fading into darkness as each song ended.

Energy seemed to visibly bounce from one band member to the next with a graceful ease that kept the audience’s eyes traveling across the stage instead of focusing solely on Watson. The multi-instrumentalist didn’t stand front and center, instead settling into the left-hand corner of the stage—a sign of recognition that his creative machine couldn’t run properly without his band.

Although it’s unlikely that a Watson live show would work less smoothly without the support, the outfit’s newly adopted layering of digital instrumentation over their analog playing made for a fully captivating sound. The combination of the lights and the uninhibited soundscape challenged listeners to more fully consider the wood and metal machines that actually create the music on stage. Only then could the Casbah crowd genuinely understand the harmonious union between man and machine. FL

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