There are so many great places in Chicago to see live music that it is impossible to get to all of them. I generally try to stay around my neighborhood, which houses places like Metro, Schubas, and Lincoln Hall. Not too shabby. So last night seeing Jason Myles Goss was my first adventure way up north to Uncommon Ground, and I was surprised in more ways than one.
First of all, the venue itself is fantastic. Very intimate and quiet, like having a private concert for you and twenty to fifty close friends. The food was awesome and the drink I got came in a cup the size of a soup bowl. When I walked in there was a band already playing, so I said hello to Jason for a few minutes and then sat down with Kari to enjoy the set.
Thomas Kivi and Sarah Pray make up the folk duo Kivi & Pray, and they were awesome. I missed the first couple songs, but as I took my seat they started playing a cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless” that was as beautiful as any you’ve ever heard. The couple songs I heard while talking both featured Sarah on lead vocals, so I assumed that the deal was Thomas just sang backup. Then they played a Kivi original called “Wake Up, George!” that he sang lead on, and I realized it was much more of a back and forth.
That song is fairly Dylan-esque, and you can hear it on their bandcamp page, along with a few others they recorded at a live show in Georgia. They were a very fitting opener, and I’m glad I got there early to catch their pretty voices and strong chemistry.
A little before 9pm Jason took the stage with a small but engaged audience awaiting his voice. I think I can easily say that no one was dissapointed.
There was a lot of material off of his newest album, Radio Dial, played during the set that ran just about an hour. Off the top of my head I remember he played “Hospital Shirt,” “Black Lights,” “Home,” “Come Back To Me,” “Into The Night,” “Chocolate Croissant,” “New York City,” and “Bows And Arrows.” The performance of that last one was really great. For me, the real treat was getting to hear some of the older stuff that I’m not as familiar with.
There were a couple standouts from Jason’s last album, including the title track “A Plea For Dreamland.” It’s a sweet tune about a budding romance on Coney Island that almost brought a tear to my eye. The other song off that record that I enjoyed immensely was “Coffee And Wine.” It’s a change from his usual style, much more bluesy and loose. It sounds like a song that would be co-written by Tom Waits and Luther Allison.
Both on stage and off, Jason seems to be a pretty affable guy; humble and gracious to everyone around him. He was telling a funny story about crossing the Canadian border one time that led him into the song “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. It started off pretty strong, but a couple of times he forgot the words, and somehow that made it better. He uses his voice effectively at all times. It’s a strange dynamic because I really like his voice in the lower registers, but then he hits these high notes that I would never think possible and it just blows you away.
This show was as close to perfect as a person can expect. The venue, opener, and headliner were all top-notch. This was Jason’s last stop on his midwestern tour, but he said he’s hoping to come back in the fall. I know I can’t wait to see him again, and I hope to see many more fans at his next show.