NXNE Review: Hayes Carll, June 13, Sunrise Records

Shows in record stores can be kind of a weird thing at times. They can most often be very cool things as well, but yeah, also definitely weird at times. I’ve written before about how it can be a bit of an odd experience from the viewpoint of an attendee, but as Texan singer-songwriter Hayes Carll can attest, it’s probably even stranger from the perspective of the performer.

Carll was made acutely aware of the strangeness of his situation when one store patron began browsing the DVD shelves during his set. Now this is nothing unusual in and of itself; it’s a record store, people are expected to be browsing and certainly no one who happens to be in the store is obligated to pay attention to the guy singing songs and playing guitar next to that Dexter collection that caught your eye, but when this guy went so far as to lean in closer to where Carll was standing to examine a particular title, that’s going a bit too far. “They’ve got a great selection here” mused Carll as DVD guy (who was also wearing big ass headphones) slinked back into the crowd.  To his credit, Carll didn’t seem fazed by this at all, nor did he even seem to notice the giant display of Doctor Who merchandise to his right.  I did though.  There are far more Who collectibles than I would have imagined, but I digress.

Carll, a natural storyteller, spoke further on his adventures in instores (which he said he rarely does) while describing one he did years ago in London (at “HMV or whatever,” as Carll put it) where the store hired both security guys and what seemed to Carll like paparazzi, actually photographers hired by the chain to shoot the show, which made Carll think he had a UK hit that he was previously unaware of. That story, along with tales of getting in trouble for smuggling a single orange back from Canada into the US and newspaper pieces that focused mostly on Carll’s opinions on Tim Horton’s (note: he was drinking Starbucks during his set) are part of what makes Carll an engaging and charming performer. That and his songs. Highlights included the Dylanesque “KMAG YOYO” and set ender “A Bad Liver And A Broken Heart,” which I believe may have been a request. So while not everyone in the store was there to see him, those who were likely walked away satisfied.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, North By Northeast