It’s important to note that taking in a performance by Cass McCombs isn’t so much simply about seeing the man performing his songs as it is engaging in an experience. Saturday night in Baltimore that experience was akin to a post-surgery, anesthetic fog, where the real world around you frequently fails to register, but those moments where the world does manage to slip through are, if anything, entirely and utterly pleasing. And this, at least if you’re Cass McCombs, is a good thing.
Despite the fact that he is touring behind his second 2011 album, Humor Risk, the majority of that record, and the one that came before it were largely ignored by McCombs and his band. The set began with a druggy rendition of “Love Thine Enemy”, the opening track of Humor Risk, but from there took a sharp plunge into the dark, somewhat unexplored corners of McCombs catalog. The close to 90 minute performance weaved in and out of tracks from his earlier works. Songs from 2003’s A, and 2009’s Catacombs (you can see him perform “My Sister, My Spouse” from the show in the video below) and 2005’s Not The Way, dominated a pleasingly lethargic and moody set whose highlight seemed to be that it was simply happening.