March 10, 2006
40 Watt Club
Athens, GA

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Somehow The Silver Jews have always slipped by my radar. Maybe it’s because I’m a live music geek and they’ve never toured. That’s all I can figure because it took exactly one concert in their career for me to pick up on ‘em. It didn’t hurt my “discovery” that front man David Berman chose the 40 Watt Club in Athens to end his long non-performance policy. With lots of lyric sheets and the expected reticence to take the stage, Berman brought Silver Jews to the first stop of their first tour.

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For a band that's been around and nearly worshipped in the indie community for the better part of 2 decades (I did some research), that's a big deal. I, personally, didn’t expect much from the sold out show but I must confess that I was impressed. Granted, there wasn't much in the way of performance but Berman's fear, nervousness and getting used to the stage was theatrical enough. He seemed particularly wigged out by the stage monitors. Having never performed live, he had no idea how different everything sounds on stage. He was even surprised by his own sweat. Grabbing a towel and looking confused, he blurted out, "I haven't done this since tennis”.

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I knew not a single Silver Jews song when I walked in the door but tables were turned for the final number. Besides the band, I think I may have been the only one there that knew and could sing along with T.G. Sheppard's "I Loved 'Em Everyone". It was an odd choice for an odd night. I enjoyed it.

All photos by Chris McKay /