Last night we saw M. Ward with Portastatic at Town Hall.
I haven't been to a seated show in a while and it was a nice view from the Town Hall balcony. The venue suited the performance. During the set there were moments in which it was possible to forget that you were part of a crowd.
M. Ward is clearly more comfortable in front of crowds than he was a few years ago. Still, he's definitely cultivating some kind of outsider image whereby he is acknowledging the crowd politely but not eagerly. This solo set was a bit more high tech and involved sound manipulation tape looping things than his solo sets that I remember. During the encore he was joined by some Oakley Hall members.
Picture from Tammylo's Flickr; taken against Mr. Ward's wishes.
Portastatic was again in the duo with violin configuration and I liked it a lot more this time than last time. This probably had a lot to do with the venue; Town Hall is probably a better place for this kind of setup than Knitting Factory. I was quite pleased when Portastatic was added to this show. I've seen them in various forms quite a few times, never really intentionally. But as Superchunk are pretty much comatose nowadays, Portastatic is getting Mac's good songs and there have really been some very good ones on the most recent few albums.
Portastatic photo from their Knitting Factory show. Flickr photo by Rogo2ooo.