Todd Snider is having a good time. He’ll tell you that and more importantly it sounds like it. The alt-country purveyor of stoner fables played on March 16 in the first of two sold-out St. Patrick’s Day weekend shows at Evanston’s SPACE.
Barefoot and wearing a denim shirt and his trademark hat, Snider kept the chatter and banter to a minimum, instead stringing together a set of 21 favorites including a couple from his latest, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. “Statistician’s Blues,” “Tension,” and “Beer Run” were all there. But Snider really shines when he’s got a great story to accompany a song. Very few can relate to a room with the honesty, wonder, and just a little bit of innocence the way he does. And if you believe what he says, the stories are all true.
Flanked by a couple of large stage mushrooms and armed with a lone guitar, he lead “Ballad Of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern” with a barb about the bad timing of his introduction to songwriter Aaron Allen and relayed a piece of priceless songwriting advice he once received before breaking into “Sideshow Blues.” Fans also have another reason as to why Todd is indeed an “Alright Guy.”
Snider put the crowd on the inside track of a new movie he has a part in and the special condition he was told to show up in for shooting. Here’s a hint: it involves hallucinogens. The flick is about his now home of East Nashville – a place he admits used to be a lot cooler when it wasn’t so cool. But most importantly, there was an Elvis origin story. Fans know Todd wasn’t talking about The King, but Elvis, his trusted and dedicated roadie of 17 years.
The show wound down with a sincere thanks and an even more sincere appeal to take care of your waitress before a moving version of the Grateful Dead’s “High Time.”
— Rob LaFrentz