John Vanderslice

Tuesday, September 2

Yes, the rumors are true: John Vanderslice is without a doubt the nicest guy in all of indie-rock – a genuine people person. But even if I found out he drowned a bag of kittens, or went on a seven-state killing spree, or if he just acted like a king douchebag when I interviewed him, I'd still love the guy's music. Since 2000 – following the end of his alt-rock outfit mk Ultra's five-year run – the 41-year-old singer/multi-instrumentalist has unleashed six terrific records, each with engrossing production qualities that never obscure his penchant for captivating first-person fictional (or semi-fictional) narratives, well-turned lyrics, and melodies and moods both dark and bright. Of Vanderslice's half-dozen discs, I find myself drawn most to 2004's Cellar Door – its recurring theme of the impossibility of escape especially compelling – and his 2005 tour de force, Pixel Revolt, but last year's Emerald City, a more stripped-back and politically minded affair, is a great listen, too. And as per his hard-working nature, he's currently putting together a new album. Given his track record, it's safe to say any new material he might play tonight won't disappoint, nor will speaking with Mr. Nice Guy after the show if you choose to do so.

Tue., Sept. 2, 7 p.m., 2008

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