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Live Music

Judah Johnson LIVE at Spaceland ~ Silver Lake

9:03 AM PDT on September 15, 2006


Judah Johnson, along with touring mates Husky Rescue, offered a most excellent act last Saturday night at Spaceland, teetering upon the release of their second full-length album “Be Where I Be". The members of Judah Johnson—Daniel Johnson (vocals), Rodrigo Palma (guitar), Noah Harris (bass), and Charlie Koltak (drums)—are either unaware or ignore, due to ascetic humility, that they are Detroit’s finest. Los Angeles, we are lucky to have had them with us.

Detroit-bred bands tend to fall under the category of those whose guitars and lead mikes spew vomit-like sounds, but Judah Johnson put forward heartfelt, space-pop, ornamented by synth and carried along by lead singer Daniel Johnson’s melodious-with-a-dash-of-modesty voice. The sound was full and celestial, even though some elements came understated. Judah Johnson is able to pool together essential sounds from the following kinds of influences: Bjork’s “Medulla”, Thom Yorke’s "The Eraser", and Interpol’s "Turn On the Bright Lights". And they do it well...


The sounds churned out by Judah Johnson conveyed a transient quality, one that left me unsatisfied. I wanted more. More Judah Johnson. It is as if playing their set three times over again would still leave me yearning to absorb a tad more of their complex, multilayered work. Part of the distraction in the first place was a slew of technical difficulties that occurred during the otherwise compelling performance.

The scene made me cringe: there he was...the talented Mr. Daniel Johnson and the veins in his hand bulging as he pulled out a plug and then plunged it into some other hole. The scraping noises were at that moment unbearable. But after this, as though music were a healing property even to electronic mayhem, “Seeing Things” pulled the audience out of that raucous slip, and I, once again, fell into the Judah Johnson trance.


The J.J. daze is only aided by moving lyrics, and my God, they were killer. Part of me wanted to cry and another part of me wanted to…cry, actually. The lyrical content was unquestionably in line with the musical quality. The two walked hand in hand, and I watched, knocked over into a quiet, but tumultuous, synth-pop fit. Judah Johnson, I command you to rescue me from my introspective, airy desolation! Even still, the show was provocative, enjoyable, and just plain good. Judah Johnson, please come back to Los Angeles!

Photos by Graham Baclagon

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