Sufjan Stevens plays two nights at Metro - Oh My Rockness

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Sufjan Stevens plays two nights at Metro

September 15, 2005
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What the hell is up with Sufjan Stevens lately? He went from being a pretty good singer/songwriter type who played a mostly-packed show at small clubs last year, to being on the verge of "artistic genius" and selling out five (yes, FIVE!) shows at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. It's been a while since an artist has grown so much in such a short period of time. The guy's like The Beatles or something (hyperbole? Not if you listen to Illinois it's not). He quite simply plays music like you've never heard before.

Sufjan Stevens impressed with Michigan stayed about the same with Seven Swans, and floored everyone with Illinois. It's on this latest album that Stevens shows just how absurdly talented he is. Not only do his songs have themes wrapped within themes wrapped within an overall story, but he also plays over 20 instruments (I mean, c'mon!), accompanied by his pitch perfect, crystal clear voice. As Rod so insightfully said, "Some guys have all the luck." Only Sufjan can make a song about serial killer John Wayne Gacy beautiful, and a song about Decatur, Illinois interesting (Have you been there? They have soybeans and Millikin University. But if I had to pick between the two, I'd take soybeans.).

Speaking of that Decatur song, you may think Sufjan is showing off when he rhymes as many words as possible with "Decatur," until you realize that every word he's rhyming really has something to do with the town's history. Then you KNOW he's showing off. And that's what I mean by absurdly talented...

What kind of music does Sufjan Stevens really play, anyway? Is it folk? Is it rock? Chamber pop? Gospel? Bluegrass? As you probably guessed, it's all of these things. And while there have certainly been many bands in the past that have dabbled with several different genres, with Sufjan it isn't dabbling, it's mastery. Every note he decides to play, and every lyric he chooses to sing, is more perfect than it should be. And that's why I think he sold his soul to the Devil (just kidding, Sufjan!)

Sufjan Stevens plays Metro, Friday and Saturday, September 16th and 17th.

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