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Papa M's latest release Whatever, Mortal is a stellar achievement. David Pajo seems to have gotten the rock out of his system in earlier years with his band Slint and has recently reinvented himself as a folk singer in the vein of Will Oldham. Appropriately, Oldham even backs him up, along with Tara Jane O'Neil, on Whatever, Mortal.

Folky, all-accoustic, post-rock shows are typically pretty dull, but I decided to give Mr. Pajo a chance last Sunday at Northsix. Afterall, his new record is wonderful and it even made the FREEwilliamsburg top ten for 2001.

Early in the evening, I took a break from the merely serviceable opening act Chris Lee (who featured Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley on drums), and made my way towards the bathroom. Too many Bass Ales. The club was beginning to fill up slightly. Encountering a line upstairs, I opted to use the can on the lower level and on my way down passed Pajo and his posse. Pajo looked hungover and was wearing a stretched-out hoody. I heard someone from his entourage say "Did you get high from that?" I didn't catch his response.

When I came back to the upper level, Chris Lee and company had finished their set and a stagehand was setting up for Pajo. Twenty minutes and one beer later, Mr. Pajo appeared. By himself. No Will Oldham. No Tara Jane. I was not surprised to see him standing there alone, but I was hoping for the unexpected. Afterall, Oldham seems to like Brooklyn and plays here frequently.

Luckily, Pajo had some nice tricks up his sleeve. Equipped with a programmer, an acoustic guitar, a keyboard, and a harmonica, Pajo programmed his own strumming live and then looped his samples, thus enabling him to accompany himself. It was a nice trick and provided a full sound. Pajo also showed off his skills on the keyboard, putting aside his acoustic for a lovely rendition of "Beloved Woman." A good portion of the audience made their way to the bar to escape the loud, rusted organ sound that Pajo chose for several numbers, but the dissonance was nice counterpoint to the super melodic lullabies found on Whatever, Mortal.

And then, around the fourth song, Pajo seemed to lose momentum. He began stopping and starting numbers again when he made mistakes, apologizing for lack of material, and stumbling over his lyrics. And overall, he just seemed too mellow and nervous to command people's attention. His performance seemed to answer the question I had failed to hear the response to earlier. Yes, he must be stoned, I thought to myself. The show ended 40 minutes after it started and no one seemed to mind.

Regardless, Pajo did play in Slint. And Tortoise. And the Palace Brothers. And his new record is great, so I can't deny the man's talent. And his show did have some nice moments.

On another note, this was my first trip to Northsix and I look forward to going back again. A perfectly-sized room, with a nice stage, great sound, and even some bleacher-style seating for the tired, Northsix is the best place to see live music in Williamsburg. Drinks were just 4 bucks a pop (not bad for a club) and the management is even nice. Check out their schedule here and shut the fuck up about keeping Williamsburg "underground." Northsix is doing just that by bringing quality music to our neighborhood.

Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | January 2002 | Issue 22
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