Vetiver | 04.08.09 | California

Words by: Lindsay Colip | Images by: Steven Walter

Vetiver :: 04.08.09 :: Great American Music Hall :: San Francisco, CA

Vetiver :: 04.08 :: San Francisco
In a world where everything seems to be moving at lightning speed, Vetiver might seem out of place. These guys are in no such hurry. This is a band that makes you want to stop and enjoy the exact moment in which you find yourself - a refreshing position that reflected back on the faces of the happy crowd at the Great American Music Hall. Before the flashy pop stars and silly boy bands of the world, there was music being created that made you feel good, grounded and connected to the earth you walked upon, music with understanding lyrics that told a story. Their sound brings us back to that warm place. Andy Cabic (guitar/lead vocals) is Vetiver's fearless leader, accompanied by varying musicians depending on the tour or album. Otto Hauser (drums), Sanders Trippe (guitar/vocals), Brent Dunn (bass) and Kevin Barker (guitar) are almost always present, lending to Vetiver's very distinct and appealing sound.

Cabic grew up in Northern Virginia before moving to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he played guitar and wrote music as a member of indie rock band The Raymond Brake. This was where he met friends and future bandmates, Trippe and Dunn. From there they moved to their current home, San Francisco, where they started hanging out and playing with local musicians, including Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. These musicians and more collaborated in 2004 to make Vetiver's first self-titled album. Since then, Cabic has released three other albums - To Find Me Gone (2006), Thing of the Past (2008) and current album, Tight Knit (2009). Besides spearheading Vetiver, Cabic started record label Gnomonsong with Banhart and Revolver USA a few years back. They'll be putting out records this year by Papercuts and Vetiver guitarist Kevin Barker. When I asked Cabic what else was on tap for this year, he casually and modestly mentioned not only producing Vashti Bunyan'a latest work but also helping produce a record in June by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion as well as putting out a record by Michael Hurley. To say Cabic is involved in a few projects in the music industry is an understatement. He is a man not only living his passion but also helping others live out theirs, too.

Andy Cabic - Vetiver :: 04.08 :: San Francisco
His love for playing music was obvious at this show. Opening with "Rolling Sea," from Tight Knit, was the perfect signal for everyone to put away their cell phones, hold onto their partner lovingly and settle into an hour and a half of beautiful, flowing music. After getting everyone into the right frame of mind, they charged on with "Everyday," their first single off the new album. A tune that Zach Braff will surely include on his next soundtrack, this song had a happy, rewarding 'guy finally gets the girl' feel. The rest of the set was filled with some folksy oldies mixed with some head bopping new ones, providing us with a rich, full experience. "Sister," another from the new album, was definitely a high point of the night, prompting many couples in the audience to kiss and squeeze each other. From what I witnessed, Cabic and company seemed to make everyone in the audience feel really, really good. They brought everyone back to the present moment, which in today's Atari-on-crack paced world is a huge bonus and a major plus for going to see Vetiver live.

Vetiver played what was expected and then added a little something extra. They didn't zip through every pre-packaged three-minute song on schedule, but jammed out a bit, making it more about connecting with and giving something back to the fans. They actually seemed to enjoy and appreciate the art of playing and entertaining. And what a great venue in which to do this! Great American Music Hall, one of San Francisco's "oldest and grandest nightclubs" built in 1907, with gorgeous marble columns, sweeping ceiling frescoes and a decorative balcony fit for a king, was a visually stunning treat. The sound was full and rich, echoing into every crevice of the old bordello. Such a historic place was perfect for Vetiver's timeless sound. It's a definite nod to the past and a hopeful look towards the future with a strong appreciative grasp on the now. A must-see show if you need a break from all the hurriedness. Vetiver delivers the goods.

Vetiver is on tour now, dates available here.

Continue reading for a few more pics of Vetiver in San Francisco...


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