Sunday, September 7, 2003

Glabicki keeps fans on a string

By Chris Varias
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The sooner Michael Glabicki rejoins his band mates, the more money he'll save in his guitar-string budget.

The Rusted Root lead singer came to town as a solo performer Saturday night and gave a 90-minute performance at the Mad Frog in Mount Auburn before a crowd of about 100.

The show was the third date of a month-and-a-half tour, on which Glabicki is showcasing a few new solo songs amid a set of Rusted Root material.

Rusted Root's blend of percussive, world-music-influenced jams and pop sensibilities is difficult for an acoustic-guitar troubadour to duplicate, but the devoted group of fans found enough rhythm in Glabicki's sound to do their hippie-boogie thing.

Glabicki did his part by strumming his guitar as ferociously as he could to spur the dancing. This kept his soundman busy changing strings.

It's rare to see a solo act bring a half-dozen acoustic guitars to an intimate club date, but after Glabicki played a spirited rendition of Rusted Root's "Rain," it seemed six guitars might not be enough.

He broke a string, stopped the song, changed guitars and continued. Before he could get to the end he popped another one, and this time the crowd begged him to play through it.

He made it to the end of the Rusted Root signature song "Send Me on My Way" - another tune requiring intense strumming - with only breaking one string.

Not every song was executed with dancing in mind. Glabicki did a handful of ballads. They displayed a penchant for dreamy, poetic lyrics ("I'm holding onto thunder with electric eyes of wonder") and his expressive, sometimes soaring vocals.

One young lady in the crowd wanted the guy with the notepad to know Glabicki "has the sexiest voice in rock." The guy with the notepad knows that distinction actually belongs to PJ Harvey, but he gets her drift anyway.

Glabicki said he would be releasing two solo albums. One is called Uprooted. It's a collection of Rusted Root songs mixed with his material that comes out in two weeks. The other one, which arrives in March, comprises brand-new solo compositions, including a pair of songs he previewed, "Animals Love Touch" and "Bring Down the Ax."



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