Live At Bimbo's 365
San Francisco, CA – 6/17/06
By: Kerry M
Three years after the initial release in Europe, Mr. Gonzalez is touring the US in support of his recently re-released debut album, Veneer. The name Jose Gonzalez may not be well known around these parts, but thanks to a clever Sony Bravia television commercial that featured bouncy balls and a hill in San Francisco which made its way around the net last year, many folks are quite familiar with Gonzalez's version of the song Heartbeats and judging by the large crowd and the response to the opening riff, the San Franciso hipsters came to hear that song on Saturday night.
Response to the Gonzalez penned tracks was far less enthusiastic, though always polite. In fact, throughout the entire set the crowd was dead silent. No idle chatter, no clinking of glasses, the audience stood in rapt attention as the Swede with Argentinian genes sat alone in the spotlight working his way through Veneer standouts including Slow Moves, and Lovestain.
Amusingly, Jose made no mention of the fact that he had not penned “The Song They Came To Hear”, Heartbeats, which was actually written years ago by fellow Swedes The Knife. Pity. He also neglected to mention that his closer, Teardrop, another crowd favorite, was courtesy of Massive Attack. Maybe he figured the hipster crowd was well aware of the origins. Maybe. Though, he did feel obliged in pointing out his cover of Kylie Minogue's Hand on My Heart. Perhaps he thought the crowd might not be as familiar with her body of work. A fair assessment on these fair shores.
Indeed, for better or worse, Mr. Gonzalez has developed a bit of a reputation as an adept and creative cover artist. Unforunately, he did not choose to grace the crowd with his infamous version of Joy Division's classic Love Will Tear Us Apart. Perhaps 3 covers in a less than 10 song set seemed sufficient.
Mr. Gonzalez seems poised and content to ride the wave of popularity that has come his way since the downhill bouncing balls of the Bravia commercial and Mute is all too happy to help him bring his clever covers and gentle vocals to fans of the Quiet is The New Loud genre. Though, one has to wonder what will become of him when he reaches the bottom of the hill.