House music

Simon Joyner Living Room Show

photo by daniel muller

House shows can be straight-up magic. You're getting cozy with your friends. You're not shelling out $8 for shitty beer. And the musician is right there, telling stories and spreading lovely sounds. You could go up and touch them if you really wanted to.

Granted, house shows can also just be big parties, with people being loud and drunk and awful. And there just happens to be a live band.

Undertow Music Collective is a game changer, though. The group books legit concerts with big-time artists, in carefully selected fans' living rooms. Tickets are purchased in advance, and the location is only revealed on said tickets.

Friday, May 9, in El Dorado Hills, Simon Joyner (pictured) and Wooden Wand perform. Wooden Wand is singer-songwriter James Jackson Toth, part of the new weird America movement popularized by Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom.

Joyner is kind of a legend. He's cited as a pioneer of Nebraska's music scene and one of Conor Oberst's major influences. The similarities between their indie-folk sound and structure are clear, though Joyner's songs feel less mainstream-friendly. His lyrics are dense, literary and often dissonant. And he's also modest and reclusive, hardly touring or performing at all for half of his 22-year career. He wanted to be around for his family, but he also doesn't really enjoy playing at bars and clubs. This tour is more his speed.

“It's taking house shows seriously—a real venue atmosphere, but in a relaxed living room,” he said.

Fans can expect to hear a lot of brand-new songs, which will be included on a future record. Unlike his most recent album, Ghosts, with a full band and dark noise, his new songs are more stripped-down and acoustic-heavy. Friday, May 9, 8 p.m. in El Dorado Hills, $20,