Josh Ritter live at the Belly Up Tavern

I’ve always liked Josh Ritter but have a newfound appreciation for his talent after hearing him and his band perform live last night in Solana Beach.  Just a minute into their first song, Southern Pacifica I knew we were in for a treat.  I took a light approach as it was our date night so just my little Olympus with a 50mm lens and a roll of Tri-X.

Some artists you just have to see to believe and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such an all-out performance.  Bouncing around on stage smiling from ear to ear, his enthusiasm would earn him a straight A and is extremely infectious.  Josh pulls the crowd right in and you feel like you’re sitting on a shag carpet with him in his lounge while he spins yarns and plays his deeply soulful tunes even though you’re standing in a huge room, shoulder to shoulder with sweaty, sunburned strangers.
Josh doesn’t take himself too seriously but his musicianship is dead serious.  The sound and set progression was genius; well thought out featuring songs from all albums and even an awesome cover version of Moon River for all the ladies in the place.  The band members all stood strong on their own (the bass player with the awesome moustache even did a solo cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game that was surprisingly rad).  On top of that, they all genuinely seemed to like each other which was really nice.
Great show, great music, cool guy…
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