Patrick Watson, Live From CMJ 2009

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Patrick Watson performs live at the Mercury Lounge in New York City on Oct. 22. Teresa Stubs hide caption

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Patrick Watson

Patrick Watson performs live at the Mercury Lounge in New York City on Oct. 22.

Teresa Stubs

One of my favorite discoveries of the year, Patrick Watson makes imaginative pop with a cinematic bent. So it was a special thrill to be able to record his concert at The Mercury Lounge in New York City Thursday, performed as part of the CMJ Music Festival.

Recorded with the help of Seattle's KEXP, this was one of the best live shows I've seen all year, anywhere. Watson is a dynamic performer who gets deep inside the songs, and you can tell. His face contorts, his body shifts as he becomes the characters and stories he sings. But there's more to Watson than his colorful songs. He has one of the best bands performing music these days, able to shift moods from funny to scary, and from cartoony to evocative of street life, often in the same song. The variety of sounds that come from just the guitar or drums is a thrill ride and a constant surprise. Bass players often go unnoticed, but that shouldn't happen here.

Watson's newest album, Wooden Arms, is one of my favorites this year, but this concert is the best presentation of these songs I've heard. Enjoy.

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