David Ford at The Hotel Café
10 July, 2008
David Ford’s six month swing through North America ended last night here in Los Angeles at the Hotel Café, and if you missed it, boy, are you an idiot.
David Ford is from England and has been playing a unique type of solo music since 2005. His newly released album on Independiente is called Songs For The Road, and it’s a winner, a blend of a whole bunch of great influences tied together with his unique, weary, and hopeful voice.
First of all, my tickets weren’t there. Not blaming anybody, but I wasn’t on the list like I should’ve been. Almost just left, but David’s manager added me. Nice guy, that. I’m really glad I decided to say hello and subsequently get in to see the show. The room was hot and the drinks were cheaply priced, relatively speaking. And wow, were there some totally hot girls there. I know that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been a while since I’ve been out in L.A. so my antenna were buzzing.
David Ford is a very interesting presence onstage, a bit diminutive physically, wearing a cute little brown hat. He’s very talkative and self-deprecating, and he’s what is known around the world as a seriously mad genius singer-songwriter. He plays alone (save for Kim Devine, who sang on a few songs). He plays piano and guitar and tambourine and shakers, and while he’s playing certain instruments, he’ll feed a bit into a separate microphone which will then loop that sound behind what he’s currently playing. First song “Go To Hell” started with him looping a chorus of his own voice as accompaniment, slowly adding shakers and a guitar bit. He then moved into “Unforgiveable,” calling Kim up on stage to add her lovely voice to the proceedings.
Highlights of the night included well known hit “State Of The Union” from his debut album with the very long name (fine, it’s called I Sincerely Apologize For All The Trouble I’ve Caused), as well as another new song that he said was probably called “To Hell With The World.” This was a very moving solo piano piece about the never ending race to compete in the crazy world we live in, and how if we really think about it, we can just stop. The audience was rapt and appreciative, swaying gently along with the acoustic songs. At one point, he went to pick up his electric and then said to us “You know, I don’t think that’s working, the electric. It’s kind of bugging me. Is it bugging you? Or is it just me?” He played the rest of the night on his acoustic.
Someone near me mentioned that he deserved a backing band, and while it might add a bit of depth to his sound, it’s not something he’s lacking. The sheer wonder of seeing him scampering around singing different parts, adding instruments, and putting the songs together in real time is joyous. His earnestness more than makes up for a lack of serious vocal range, and he’s like a friend you could have a glass of scotch with on a cold day. Please, check him out.