He came on stage and sat with his guitar and fiddled about with the various output controls, adjusted his amped acoustic guitar and settled his foot on the raised footpedal footstool and began to play an intense world music tune. He was dressed in an unironed semi-dress shirt outside tracksuit style pants with rectangles of colour and red back pockets, soft tan shoes and his bald spot caught the amber light within a halo of curly hair. The guitar was held into his body, with his head resting or kissing the frame or body.
This was Pierre Bensusan, the USA 2008 Guitar Player Magazine Best World Music Guitar Player, beginning his new Irish tour at Garter Lane. This French Algerian legend, is not going to be a crowd-pleaser. He goes on a personal journey and you must go with him, he does not lead you. At times he can be dispassionate in a jazzy internalised improvised way.
At times, he seemed disassociative as his nimble fingers created a soundscape from his last cd – Altiplano. Sentimental Pyromanics, I recognised and some of the American influenced pieces seemed like a busy busy Ry Cooder slice or 59 Street Bridge Song – Slow down you move too fast… feelin’ groovy.
This was a concert that just got better as I relaxed into it. Only scratchy comment is, when he sings he comes across as average. His scat singing is good but the songs about the immensity of the world as man carries his useless and fleeting burden, would give Beckett a pain in the ennui.
A Victor Hugo poem, Demain Des l’Aube, set a sad tone, rather than a romantic one, but the dance sequences and Intuit were glorious. Lots of Spanish Moorish influences and nice Bossa Nova jazz touches.
I went home happy.