I know I should try playing it cool, but that would be disingenuous. Last night I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t sleep, and I realized that it was all because tonight The Fruit Bats are playing at the Mission Theater here in Portland. I’ve been trying to see Eric Johnson and company since 2002 or so. But every time something would come up. When I assumed they disbanded and Johnson became a guitarist for The Shins in 2006 or so (also sitting in with Vetiver), I said, well that sucks but good for him. That’s a great gig.
Except now they’re back. It’s been fascinating to hear their evolution as a band and the current lineup sounds wonderful. Ron Lewis has moved out from behind the kit and will be handling the keyboard duties as well as any other instruments, Chris Sherman is on bass and he’s been playing with Eric Johnson since Mouthfuls. Sam Wagster will handle guitar duties, and he might be the first true lead guitarist The Fruit Bats have had. Plus he plays pedal steel. We all know pedal steel is the greatest instrument, invented by the gods and given to humans as a gift. Finally, Graeme Gibson, formerly of Chicago’s The Boas will be on drums.
There hasn’t been much video of the recent west coast tour, but I’m aiming to change that tonight, hopefully, by capturing some new songs. Also? I might have teared up, just a bit, after listening to song and realizing that I’m finally going to see these guys. Best Christmas present ever guys.
The Fruit Bats @ The Mission Theater, $12, doors at 6 p.m., music at 7 p.m.