Every eye (and ear) was glued to piano tickler Patrick Watson Tuesday evening (May 8) as the Canadian singer/songwriter played to a small group of loyalists gathered at the legendary Paradiso. Watson's hour-long set mostly drew from the Juno-nominated, 2006 effort Close to Paradise, and found the band whisking through a tenner of tracks with much delight, including a half a capella "Man Under the Sea," sung alongside the crowd as Watson left the stage to stand in the middle of the audience. Watson's clean warbling was a soft mix torn between Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith, which playfully concocted dreamy, iridescent melodies atop complex guitar arrangements and jazz-tinged rhythms.
And despite his album awaiting an August release in the Netherlands, the dedicated crowd sang each note, entranced by each passing melody, especially on the utterly melancholic "The Great Escape" and the whimsical "Weight of the World," while also clinging to Watson's uncanny way of squeezing emotion from each engaging note. The set was so good that the Paradiso invited Patrick Watson back for a second impromptu set scheduled for tonight. Excellent, take two. SHAIN SHAPIRO / PHOTOS BY SAM MIRLESSE
We asked: In five words or less, name your paradise.