Review of A.A. Bondy at Lola’s Sixth (01/11/2010) by Nick Rollo
First of all, I missed a huge chunk of the opening act of this show thanks to the Hellraiser labyrinth of Texas highways on the way to Fort Worth. I hate missing opening acts, (sorry Amy Cook) it’s like joining a movie five minutes in: you feel hustled, out of breath, the need to reach over and bug the person next to you with questions like, “What just happened? Who’s that guy with the rifle?”
Unlike me, A.A. Bondy was prompt and charismatic, and he calmed my hurried nerves. It’s the first thing you notice from his stage presence: he exudes confidence. Which is hard to do considering his music is dark, lonely, and bourbon washed. Like Bob Dylan, Bondy likes to mix his songs up live–“Oh the Vampyre” was deliciously slow and full of rich steel guitar; “I Can See the Pines Are Dancing” was finger-picked instead of strummed. With his dark red light on stage, I imagined A.A. Bondy’s live show to be a favorite of Cormac McCarthy. The choice pick: Bondy’s bar-room stopper and excitingly revealing, “Killed Myself When I Was Young.” The song opens with a timbre-heavy drum kicking with a steady beat, and Bondy’s lyrics come in strong and honest: “Killed myself when I was young / with my fingers on a poison gun / because I had to come back new.”
Also like a good Dylanesque folk artist, (Bondy is somewhere in between Tallest Man on Earth and Langhorne Slim), the focus was on the music and nothing else. Don’t go to this show for hilarious banter or uncontrollable dancing. Go for the sadness, the peace from commiseration, and the whisper-perfect sound of A.A. Bondy’s favorite theme–dying. And vampires.