The dust billowed up around the WaMu tent on Friday afternoon. I was ecstatic because I was finally getting to see M. Ward, one of my favorite performers of all time. I had tried to see him at this years South By Southwest, but the lines were super long so I moved on. With its lush soundscapes, stellar song writing and reverb drenched vocals, his 2006 album "Post-War" is considered to be a masterpiece by a lot of people, including myself. His songwriting and vocal style takes you back to a simpler time, when the record player and radio were king.
At first, I found it strange that Ward was playing in the smaller tent, rather than one of the larger stages. But my first step into the shaded tent changed my mind. Ward had a full band that included not one, but two drummers. Ward wailed away on an old Gretsch guitar, playing intricate solo parts that complimented his smoky vocals, which sounded just as good as the record, if not better.
Occasionally, you could hear Gogol Bordello cranking out their Eastern European gypsy punk on the AT&T stage, a few hundred feet back. But for the most part, Ward and his band were loud enough to drown out the music bleeding through from the other stage. Much to my delight, they rollicked through most of the songs off of "Post-War." Some of the highlights included "Chinese Translation," "Rollercoaster," and the wonderful Daniel Johnston cover "To Go Home," which also appears on "Post-War." They also played a few new songs, which left me excited for the much-anticipated new release.