Joseph Arthur Dazzles The Troubadour

Written by  Published in Live Reviews Friday, 23 September 2011 18:17


As always, The Troubadour is the place to be to see a killer gig in Los Angeles. Last night was no different. Singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur played the legendary venue to nearly packed house and left the audience clamoring for more.

The Akron-born, Brooklyn-based singer has had a busy fall, which he told us in an interview we posted earlier this week from PJ20. Last night, Arthur played a crisp 75-minute set, which featured songs from each point in his 15-year career. The soon-to-be 40-year-old artist (who doesn’t look a day over 32) delighted the audience by playing crowd pleasing songs like “Redemption’s Son,” “Honey and The Moon” from The OC soundtrack and his most famous song, “In the Sun.”

Sporting a black jacket over a Lacoste polo shirt, Arthur demonstrated throughout the show why is a unique performance artist in every sense. Armed with only his trusted Gibson ES-335, and a '70s Fender Strat along with his complicated pedal board, Arthur’s complex songs were looped as he recorded several samples of his guitar part, while he was able to sing and play a different guitar. This allowed him to perform verses with the added effect of harmonizing without having to worry about flubbing or singing too many parts. Believe it or not, this isn’t as complicated as it sounds and Arthur did a terrific job of maintaining all of these structures without a single technical difficulty.

After 45 minutes of intense focus, Arthur loosened up. His interaction with the crowd was often comical as he cracked jokes and even took song requests. This endeared him to the 500-person audience and he seemed to soak in the moment. “I love playing L.A. and this room is my favorite,” he said, which of course got a loud response. And he was right; The Troubadour was the perfect venue for the complexity and clarity of his sound.

What makes a Joseph Arthur show so unique is that he will periodically paint during his set. Last night, in the middle of the set and after he looped his guitar track, Arthur moved towards the white cloth backdrop and started painting what appeared to be a woman’s face. He added tears and color structure to the canvas, all while singing, which elicited whooping cheers from the audience. When he wasn’t painting, the backdrop showed various clips of home video Arthur recorded throughout his world travels. This gave the crowd a great insight to Arthur as a person as well as an artist.


After a full set of solo material (with the exception of the final two songs when he brought his friend on stage to sing harmonies) he met fans and admirers by his merch booth and was genuinely excited and interested in meeting everyone, which is more than many other artists would do.

Last modified on Friday, 12 April 2013 14:16
Daniel Kohn

Ever since he first heard the opening chords to "Smells Like Teen Spirit," at the age of 11, Daniel Kohn has been hooked on music. Born in New York City, raised in the music hotbed of Long Island and currently residing in Los Angeles, Kohn has been writing since high school, when he realized he could get CDs for free. He's a sucker for '90s music, especially that from Seattle. Like a small minority of Americans, he likes football of the European variety, especially Liverpool. When he's not chasing down bands, you can find him at your local pub with a pint of Carlsberg, usually at ungodly hours cheering on his beloved Reds. 

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