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David Byrne at The Fillmore

An Artist, Decades in the Making

Disclaimer: If you haven't heard of David Byrne, you probably stopped listening to music in 1983, or you're under 15-years old. In which case, you shouldn't be reading this article; you should be tucking yourself into bed.

Everybody has moments in his or her musical memory where a song or band marks the moment of something big. I saw Byrne perform for the first time on television. For me, seeing him was this moment. No car crash, no hard break-up, no high school prom, just Byrne wiggling his arms and shaking his shoulders. Don't get me wrong; I had been repeatedly exposed to his music before this moment. On the radio, when I flipped hurriedly past the 80s stations. I also found the Talking Heads interweaving with Primus,
Tricky, Ween, and Beastie Boys on the play list in my high school art class. Then on the tele, the moment of conception, I really started to see what this was all about. Although I still don't fully understand it, but that's not the point, right?

There are few people who can reach out and grab you while you're falling into those daily traps. "Glass, Concrete and Stone" the first track off Byrne's latest "Grown Backwards" is a perfect example of what a man with a proven track record for catchy intelligent melodies can achieve. The altogether absence of angst is enough to make anyone want to buy his latest and make a journey back to the moments that we categorize as story worthy and even realize why we are the way we are.

Curious explorations have taken Byrne's career on an atypical path you wouldn't expect from an 80s pop star. He discovers and distributes a greater knowledge of world music to, well, the world, with his label Luaka Bop. He's gotten his hands dirty with Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian in Scotland. He's an established and recognized fine artist. One of his recent works consists of a DVD under the influence of the very corporate art software PowerPoint. He is starting to make sense.

To explore his path fully will take a decade, no two, well three actually. So go try out Byrne if you want. I'd suggest his latest DVD "Live Union Chapel London". If you're really feeling bold you could get his Grammy Award winning Box Set spanning the whole of his career with the Talking Heads. You decide how far you want to dive into the mind of a man making undeniable changes in the music world. Don't say I didn't warn you.

David Byrne will be at the Fillmore Wednesday, 2/23 and Thursday, 2/24
with the Extra Action Marching Band and Friday, 2/25 solo.