In celebration of its 40th issue, Fader threw a little party at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center, a neo-gothic structure on the LES. The hall has something approximating 100 feet from floor to ceiling (and the booming, resonant acoustics to prove it). What was once a cathedral-inspired synagogue is now a performing arts center, and it was a hell of a place for a solo acoustic set from the mighty Jim James.
Big stage for one man, but a stadium-sized voice like Jim’s could make an arena feel intimate. With all that naturally occurring reverb, James didn’t even need a mic (with digital reverb at that), but we think the guy’s hooked (it sounded amazing, of course, but we were sad that his heartfelt banter was an echoey mess). Songs included At Dawn’s “Hopefully,” “Golden” from It Still Moves, and a host of Z favorites. “Anytime” and “What A Wonderful Man” featured James on an Omnichord (had to ask the sound guy about that one), a hand-held electronic instrument played by holding a chord tone and using a harmonic strumplate, all after triggering cheesy (yet fun) preset rhythms. If it weren’t for those goofy beats, the illumined arches and eye-raising architecture would’ve made James’s bleeding-heart performance a bit overwhelming for our vodka-infused minds. But we held it together (and loved every second).