To pull off covering a David Bowie album in its entirety, an artist has to have more than just confidence and skill. The performance must have a quality that salutes Bowie’s notoriety, while at the same time giving the album a unique tone. Thankfully, a rock star like John Vanderslice is the perfect candidate for such a performance. On Thursday night, Vanderslice is curating an evening with Folk Yeah and CinemaSF at The Vogue Theater. It’s all part of a new series called City Scenes, where a local indie musician covers an iconic album followed by a screening of a movie of the artist’s choice. Vanderslice is performing Diamond Dogs, and has chosen the Michel Gondry directed film The Science of Sleep to play after his show.
The combination of Vanderslice’s own tone on the post-apocalyptic, glam-eccentric concept album Diamond Dogs with the surrealist, psychological elements in The Science of Sleep will undoubtably be interesting. After all, as the owner of the acclaimed Tiny Telephone studios in the Mission district, Vanderslice is accustomed to working with other artists’ material, and making it sound good. He’s worked with an array of folks ranging from Death Cab For Cutie to The Mountain Goats, from Spoon to tUnE-yArDs. Its hard to believe that an artist with the experience of Vanderslice would be unable to give justice to Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.
The best part of this event is that it gives fans of Vanderslice an opportunity to get to know him better. Hearing an amazing performer play a cover of a song is enough to give a closer perspective on the musician’s artistic impulses; watching a full album performed live, followed by a movie chosen by the performer, gives even closer look.
John Vanderslice performs Diamond Dogs live at The Vogue Theater at 8pm on Thursday, August 2nd.