Damien Rice + Josh Ritter Shine Solo at Celebrate Brooklyn! (Photos)

by Sachyn Mital

26 June 2015

Damien Rice's solo Celebrate Brooklyn! set allowed the musician to show his often soft songs in the most ragged and raw light.
Damien Rice is not afraid of the dark. 

Damien Rice

17 Jun 2015: Prospect Park Bandshell — Brooklyn, NY

Having seen Josh Ritter twice already this year, I was aware that he’s been giving a lot of time on stage to honing new songs. The new material is fascinating and it is a treat to see him perform songs like the enthusiastic “Henrietta” alongside crowd favorites like “Kathleen” and “Joy to You Baby”. However, unlike the most recent time when I saw him perform with Zachariah Hickman, Ritter went solo for this set, on par with headliner Damien Rice. Unfortunately, this resulted in Ritter being drowned out by the collective audience chatter.
When Damien Rice himself took the Prospect Park Bandshell stage with his guitar (he switched to a harmonium from time to time) the audience finally rose to their feet. Rice’s third album, the well-received My Favourite Faded Fantasy, came out in the latter half of 2014. The Irish singer-songwriter worked just over half of the songs from that album into his ragged, plaintive performance. Rice was on stage mostly shrouded in darkness, lighting up the stage and himself primarily from standalone lights.

I guess it was so he could let his engaging music shine. The rawness of it was indelible. On “Trusty and True”, the organ was reminiscent of a church—I could imagine that that was what it was like to give penance. Introducing another song, Rice mentioned there is a lot of guilt in NY, “Catholic guilt. Jewish guilt,” before noting that people should put their hatred elsewhere and going into “Colour Me In”. His next song, “Woman Like a Man” received a lot of applause as the crowd recognized the chords. As the sun was setting, the song was made more gritty and powerful by the stark light bulbs shining on and off, like fireflies calling out to each other in the woods (fitting for a park setting). But one could be assured that, throughout his Celebrate Brooklyn! set, Rice’s powerful light never dimmed.

Josh Ritter:

Damien Rice:

Josh Ritter setlist:
Monster Ballads
New Song (Sweetwater)
New Song (Mansions)
New Song (Cumberland)
(No Church In the Wild)
New Song (Henrietta, Indiana)
New Song (Where the Night Takes Us)
New Song (Gettin’ Ready to Get Down)
Joy to You Baby

Damien Rice setlist:
9 Crimes
Trusty and True
Colour Me In
Woman Like a Man
The Box
I Remember
The Professor & La Fille Danse
Long Long Way
[encore break]
The Blower’s Daughter
It Takes a Lot to Know a Man

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