There's nothing quite like a cemetery show to build an underground following, and M. Ward was digging deep on Thursday night when the songwriter haunted a sold out crowd at the Masonic Lodge located inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
With hands that seem to be daring each other to do crazy things, the Ventura County native played his guitar like a full band throughout the thoughtfully sequenced set of new material and flashbacks.
A study in under-banter and comedic timing, the musician let his peculiar brand of sound and vision tell most of the stories with lyrics alternating between fantastical and heartbreaking, and a voice that cushions like thick mist.
"No recording allowed" was taken seriously by the exceedingly polite and respectful crowd that sat in orderly rows in complete silence waiting for the rock ritual to save them. Sometimes the un-Memorexed moments just mean more.
No Los Angeles show is complete without a famous-friend encore, and that honor went to his honey-toned equal, Norah Jones.
The forthcoming album, A Wasteland Companion (Merge), will be available for legal purchase on April 10.