Landon Hedges / Stop at Line / Joe Liebentritt
Feb. 19, 2003
how was Landon Hedges at the 49'r last night? Well, I only made
it through an hour of the show. The venue suffers from its own success,
at least on these acoustic nights. The room was completely filled,
no place to sit, no place really to stand without being in someone's
way. That, plus a headache and a sore shoulder drew me away before
I could get through a second cycle -- their acoustic nights are
done in a 'round robin style, with each artist performing three
songs. It's not really the ideal place to see solo acoustic singer/songwriters
because the constant crowd noise never drops below a stadium rumble,
even when the performers are on stage. As a result, despite a high-quality
job by soundman Matt Whipkey, there's no way to make out what the
singers are singing.
got there in time to see first performer Joe Liebentritt do his
thing. All's I can tell you is he sat down, he played an acoustic
guitar, and he sang songs that had melody with words that probably
rhymed. Of the three, he was the most suited to be playing in a
coffee shop where there's no distractions. His voice got lost in
up was a performer that goes by the name Stop at Line. I had been
told by a couple people what to expect, but I didn't expect what
I heard. This guy's vocals are spot-on impersonations of Conor Oberst
a.k.a. Bright Eyes -- from the quiet shimmy all the way to the off-kilter
screech. I had to smile. He even looked a little like Oberst, sans
bangs in the eyes and bad posture. I asked a couple people I knew
if I was missing something, and they all just smiled. Nope. His
Oberst impersonation is uncanny. He's managed to take all the worst
characteristics -- all the things that Oberst is criticized for
vocal-wise -- and blend them into his keynote vocal style. So distracting
was his mimicry that everything else -- his songwriting, his lyrics,
his guitar playing -- went right out the window. He must be aware
that he is doing this -- no one sings that way for any other reason
then on purpose. Any criticism can't be anything he hasn't heard
before, too many times.
up was Landon Hedges, dwarfed behind his giant electric Harmony.
I didn't think his voice would carry through the Niner's barroom
ambiance, but surprisingly, it made it through okay. He sang the
song I mentioned in the
article, the one about being called a monster (FYI, none of
his songs have names -- Landon says he comes up with them last.
For lack of a better name, I call that one "The Monster Song").
of Hedges' songs sounded terribly lonely, forlorn, sad. Landon's
vocals lend themselves well to the style, all filled with high-end
ennui that counterbalances his echoing guitar tones -- his songs
would be a perfect soundtrack to a film shot on an empty, overcast
ocean beach about 20 minutes before sundown.
would have stayed for a second round, but by the time Landon was
finished and Liebentritt had started up again, I found myself standing
by the back door, the parking lot's call just too enticing to pass
Posted Feb. 20, 2003. Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
All of Hedges' songs sounded terribly lonely, forlorn,