the-royal-city-band

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Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band at Plush, 4.20.2013

Plush is no theater — and seeing the other venues Ritter has been playing on this tour, it’s a curious venue choice.

A glance at merch man Brian Stowell’s blog shows the band’s recent adventures in extravagant, lavish venues, more in line with the fit and finish of The Peabody Opera House or The Fox Theater. A gorgeous, foreboding “evil eye” backdrop hangs behind Ritter and his Royal City Band while they perform in these venues.

Stowell’s blog makes it clear that these places, and performances, have been beautiful.

Plush is not beautiful. It’s industrial and eclectic, occupying the first two floors of a rehabbed building in Midtown, St. Louis. Musicians perform in a space boxed in on three sides, under metallic light structures and drenched in LED colors. The view from the second floor is restrictive, with hanging speaker monitors obscuring performers. The interior is brick and concrete, with support pillars in the general admission floor space.

Still… Ritter’s never-ending smile seems to brighten any room, and as he took the stage on Saturday evening, the surroundings — the venue — ceased to matter. It was Ritter and the audience, sharing guitar strums and wolf howls.

Ritter and the Royal City Band didn’t look like they were trying to play a theater-worthy show, though they certainly did. They didn’t look like they were trying to be more rough-and-tumble, either. No, they looked like they were having the time of their lives creating music for an appreciative audience — which is always a beautiful thing.

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Josh Ritter - “Harrisburg” - from the Live at The Iveagh Gardens DVD (by dougrice)

Great performance of one of my favorite Josh Ritter songs, with a little surprise in the middle.

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Oh my god, this is how you do a song live. This is fucking fantastic.

I have to keep my feelings for the Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band show last night short and sweet before I dissolve into an inarticulate mess, so here we go.

Firstly, what an incredible set. I never thought I’d get to hear ‘Bone of Song’ played live and it was a truly beautiful experience.

Secondly, from the instant Josh hit the stage you couldn’t help but return the huge smile that spread across his face. Him and the whole band love what they do so much, and it’s impossible not to get swept up in their enjoyment too.

Third, the red, roofless van from Luton. Nothing further.

Fourth, I hope he continues to make music for a really long time and still astounds people with his words and melodies and his general love for playing live music.

I hope everyone that saw/is going to see them on this tour had/has as amazing a time as I did.

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Josh Ritter - Pale Blue Eyes (velvet underground cover)