Although more inclined to remain in the background rather than in the spotlight, Decemberists percussionist John Moen has traded in his drum sticks for a guitar and microphone with his solo project Perhapst. Moen and his pickup band played the White Eagle on Friday night to promote the release of the new album Revise Your Maps.
Moen has been at the heart of Portland’s music scene for over two decades, breaking in with The Dharma Bums before backing up such big name local bands as the Decemberists. In the cozy corner of one of Portland’s oldest bars, he and his band wired up their amps to play for a standing room only audience. They performed tunes from the new album Revise Your Maps, which is actually his sophomore release as Perhapst. His first album came out in 2008. Both albums contain a collection of songs that showcase Moen’s talent as a singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist.
Moen’s studio-crafted jewels translated nicely to the live stage with a band to back him up. They opened with the first track off the record, “Birds off a Wire,” which also served as their sound check. The ever gracious Moen turned to the audience for feedback, politely asking how it sounded. Several audience members requested for louder vocals. When he eased into his set and grew more comfortable on stage, his famous falsetto vocals came to life, as did his quick witted comedic banter between songs. Throughout the evening they played songs from both Perhapst albums as well as some covers, including a nod to The Byrds. During the set Moen periodically glanced back at the drummer with a smile and a couple gestures for direction. Perhaps his mind still hangs at the back of the stage, but his heart was front and center as he seemed to be enjoying the change of view as a frontman.
Tagged: live review