Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear and Department Of Eagles ended his solo tour last night to a sold-out Music Hall Of Williamsburg. According to Rossen, it was a fitting end as he’s moving back to New York after trying to live in California. Playing some new, unreleased music as well as familiar covers and tunes from his debut EP, Silent Hour/Golden Mile (Warp) the audience was given a closer glimpse of Rossen’s own artistic expression, separate from his other band projects.
Setting the pace was William Tyler, a brilliant guitarist from Nashville who released his latest album, Impossible Truth, via Merge last year. Armed with three guitars and a few pedals, he didn’t need any vocals or accompaniment to portray such an emotional performance. Speaking briefly about the tour, he explained how he often is passing through cities very quickly and revealed that he draws his inspiration from the melodies of the landscapes. Rarely does an opening musician draw the attention of the entire audience, but his pure talent left the room in awe.
Daniel Rossen took the stage on a stool, surrounded by multiple guitars and a keyboard he used throughout his set. He began with some unreleased material before delving into his more familiar work. He filled the air with rumbling guitars and gently soaring vocals that pierce through your chest and reach straight to your heart. The delicate vulnerability and unbounded expression he is able to convey was astonishingly beautiful. Rather than overwhelm us with any flashy production or wild stage antics, he stayed true to the nature of his music and created an intimate atmosphere of eloquent and authentic artistry.
One of his unrecorded songs that stood out was Made To Rise. He said he wrote the song for his friends to play around a campfire. Although we were not bonding over s’mores and beer, the message rang true even in the sizable venue. His encore performance was, peculiarly enough, not an original song, but a gorgeous rendition of Judee Sill’s Waterfall. As much as we might’ve wanted to hear something Rossen created, it was truly the perfect way to end the night as it captured the coziness and tranquility he had established beforehand.
Besides his musicality, his personality shone as well. Between his songs he was able to sneak in some banter with the crowd as he was tuning. He jokingly mentioned that it’s a hazing ritual for his bandmates to endure him tuning for at least ten minutes in front of a crowd. Some audience members boldly requested songs, and though he appreciated the suggestions, he admitted that he wasn’t even able to hear them. When he announced that he was about to perform his final song, he said to a longing crowd that while he loves to perform, there’s a limit to his love. As an audience member shouted, “There’s no limit to my love!” he had to stop and restart since he was so flustered from the flattery. This last night of his tour was truly an appropriate homecoming, performing to an extremely appreciative New York crowd, proving this is really where he belongs.
Photos by Gennaro Aliperti.