On a warm spring night a formidable crowd sprung up in front of New York's Mercury Lounge for a sold out show featuring the voice of Our Lady Peace, Raine Maida. On his first solo trek to the states in support of his latest record The Hunter's Lullaby and last stop of his tour, people cam from far and wide to cram into this tiny club to see poetry in motion. In front of me was a couple from South Carolina, in front of them was a group of friends from Canada and behind me we're more fans from the tri state area taking the voyage to the East Village for a very intimate 200 person show. Raine, along with his band mates drummer Randy Cooke, cellist Joseph Karnes and famous Canadian singer (and Maida's wife) a very pregnant Chantal Kreviazuk pounded through tracks from Hunter's Lullaby. It was a vast departure from when I saw Maida last, he was fronting his namesake in support of Healthy in Paranoid Times in the fall of 2005. What garners the attention of Our Lady Peace right away is his voice coupled with early U2 meets Nirvana. His solo effort now is a much more stripped down, yet still powerful, acoustic hybrid of folk/spoken word/ and even hip hop, sounding more like Johnny Cash fronting Joshua Tree-era U2. It is very deep, very personal and above all else very political. Maida, always known for his socially conscious lyrics truly pushed the envelope and emotion on Hunter's Lullaby. The songs became much more three dimensional in concert than on disc. Unlike his namesake again, I do not think these song's could have done correctly had they been done by his claim to fame, yet doing them on his own they work like magic.
Opening for Maida and Co. was UK singer-songwriter and Renaissance man David Ford. Ford was (with no pun intended) a one man army. Doing live mixing and looping while playing percussion, singing, guitar, piano - you name it. He is incredibly entertaining and highly talented and one sarcastic mother fucker, but it made his set all the more enjoyable. Also, making a surprise appearance was Providence poet Jarred Paul. One of the most inspirational and motivating men on the planet. This was the second time I saw Paul, and both were accident and loved every second of it. I last saw him in the winter of 2005 opening for Sage Francis and I was immediately hooked. Paul later joined Maida up on stage for "Less I Know," and was certainly the highlight of the program. The tour that was Maida's solo trek I would call a success, it was certainly a great night for art and music and was done in the perfect place--New York's East Village.