Show You Should Know: Hiss Golden Messenger at The Sinclair 12/6

Over the weekend, the Senate passed its version of tax reform. The bill is, by many accounts, even by the right-leaning Forbes, a catastrophe. Net neutrality, unless there is some miracle, will be gone. Roy Moore’s candidacy has inspired the most jaw-dropping moral acrobatics since, well, since the 2016 presidential election.  

These are dark days. Hallelujah anyhow.

If you are in need of hope and light and love, you can’t do better than Hiss Golden Messenger these days. The new album is fantastic (here’s a review). The live show is better. I was able to catch the band for night one of their two-night hometown shows at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina and am eager to see them again on Wednesday at The Sinclair.

Go for some community. The interplay between band members is contagious. Ever since I first saw this group at Newport in 2015, I have been amazed by how much they listen and communicate with each other on stage.

Go for Phil Cook; hearing Phil’s harmonica on “Gulfport, You Been on My Mind” or his slide on “Lucia” or “When the Wall Comes Down” reminded me that Nels Cline’s solo on “Impossible Germany” alone is worth the price of a Wilco ticket.

Go for lyrics that’ll leave you thinking. MC Taylor doesn’t explain his songs, thankfully, and they strike a compelling balance between specificity and ambiguity; seeing the songs live reveals the songs in new ways. For me, it was “Black Dog Wind (Rose of Roses)” that snapped into sharp relief last week.

Tickets are available here. Get out there, people.