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In concert: Joe Pernice

Joe PerniceJoe Pernice played highlights from throughout his underappreciated catalogue Sunday at Iota. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Patrick Foster

After two decades of making "regular" albums, it seems logical that Joe Pernice would eventually try his hand at recording a soundtrack. And while most musicians usually find creative freedom in movie scoring, Pernice actually recorded companion music for a novel. That he wrote.

(Plenty of old favorites, plus more pictures after the jump.)

Joe Pernice

Since "It Feels So Good When I Stop" was released last summer, the book -- centering on a music-obsessed twenty-something desperate to keep from disappearing into the margins of the mid-1990s -- has gained momentum and critical raves. So, at Iota Sunday night, Pernice, true to form, just about totally ignored it and the gorgeous set of covers he recorded as its soundtrack. (To be fair, there was some touring behind the book/soundtrack in August, but Sunday's crowd -- the club was nearly full and shockingly reverent during the solo acoustic set -- seemed to be anticipating a deeper look into a pair of works they have now fully absorbed.)

Nothing so obvious, though. Pernice, whose back catalog of crestfallen pop gems is an underappreciated marvel, wandered all over it, stopping at songs from his first band (country-tinged downers Scud Mountain Boys), his current combo (the Pernice Brothers) and a clutch of new tunes. One of the latter, which he announced as "Man Descending a Nude Descending a Staircase," featuring a sumptuous melodic bridge and a typical Pernice-ian opening couplet ("Too high to stay/too low to leave") sounded as good as anything he's ever written. His voice, notably on Del Shannon's "I Go to Pieces," the lone offering from his novel soundtrack, was in top form, all velvet sandpaper, 4 a.m. diner jukebox.

So from "Amazing Glow" to a Scud Mountain classic (title unfit for a family music blog), Pernice was Pernice for a typically entrancing hour.

Joe Pernice

Joe Pernice

By David Malitz  |  January 18, 2010; 3:44 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Joe Pernice  
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