This weekend I went to see Jars of Clay at Stubbs. Now Stubbs is one of my all-time favorite venues, and I've gone to see bands I've never heard of there. Jars of Clay is one of my favorite bands, and the only band I've seen more than once. So, when I heard they were coming to Austin and playing Stubbs, I had no choice but to attend.
The first time I saw them was at a church in Fort Worth while I was in college. There couldn't have been more than 300 people there, and they did a fully acoustic set, including a violin and cello on a couple of the tracks. After having been involved in a church band for a while now, I have a real appreciation for how much harder it is to make a quiet acoustic song sound good than a really loud, rocking song. But even then, I realized how talented these guys were to make that intimate setting work.
The next year there was a new album, a new tour, and a grammy under their belt, so they had a bigger venue. That year, I saw them open for Michael W. Smith at the Astrodome in Houston. I'm not generally a big MWS fan, but he is a talented musician, and can certainly draw a crowd worthy of the Astrodome booking. And Jars sounded amazing in the big place, too. Their second album was generally passed over, but I think it's been their best so far. It was a reflective album, but it concerted well. I doubt "concerted" is a word, but I have a documented knack for making up words when I need them.
This weekend they were promoting their sixth album, which is a rocking look at the juxtaposition between the good and bad in all of us. Much higher energy than previous albums, and the show was, too. It was like they're all grown up now. They have a more robust sound, but they still stay true to their talented roots. Some of the vocals were muddied through some of the songs, but on the whole, it was a great show. Lots of fun, and I'm glad I went.
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