Farrar and Gibbard finish 'One Fast Move' tour with stellar set in New York City

Brought together by a mutual appreciation for the work of Jack Kerouac, Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard discovered a musical affinity as well on “One Fast Move or I’m Gone,” a soundtrack they recorded for a Kerouac documentary of the same name. (Farrar discusses the project here.)

Their rapport is no fluke, as the pair demonstrated Wednesday night at Webster Hall in New York with a riveting set of songs from the Kerouac project and a few well-chosen extras, too. It was the last night of a six-date tour, which seemed far too short, given how beautiful the songs sounded, and how much fun Farrar and Gibbard were having on stage. (See more photos from the show here.)

Four highlights from a show that was full of them:

1. The harmonies. Farrar’s voice simply blends with Gibbard’s, resulting in heart-stopping close harmonies on “These Roads Don’t Move” and intertwining vocal parts on the mournful “Sea Engines” that seemed to hang in the air, crystalline, before slowly dissipating.

2. The band. Farrar and Gibbard switched off on vocals, and back and forth between piano and guitar, supported by Nick Harmer on bass, Jon Wurster on drums and Mark Spencer on keys, guitar and pedal steel. Despite having performed just five previous shows, the musicians played with the easy assurance of a band that has been together for years.

3. The extras. Along with all 12 songs from the album, Farrar and Gibbard each sang a song from a different project, before finishing with a pair of covers. Gibbard sang a rootsy version of “Couches in Alleys,” a tune he sang on a 2004 album by the Belgian electronic band Styrofoam. Farrar opted for a rousing take on “Voodoo Candle,” from his 2001 solo debut, “Sebastopol.” And the covers: Farrar handled lead vocals on a countrified rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” and the pair closed the show with Gibbard singing lead on a shattering version of Tom Waits’ “Old Shoes (and Picture Postcards).”

4. All the love in the room. As the band got ready to play “City and Sur (Willamine),” a woman shouted, “I love you Ben!” Gibbard nodded his thanks and exchanged a sheepish grin with Farrar, who cracked up when the woman added, “I love you, too, Jay!”

Set list
1. California Zephyr
2. Low Life Kingdom
3. City and Sur (Willamine)
4. All in One
5. These Roads Don’t Move
6. Big Sur
7. One Fast Move or I’m Gone
8. Final Horrors
9. Couches in Alleys
10. Sea Engines
11. The Void
12. Breathe Our Iodine
13. Voodoo Candle
14. San Francisco
15. Absolutely Sweet Marie
16. Old Shoes (and Picture Postcards)

(Photo by Babe Zero)

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