Backed by a choir and band in shimmering silver graduation gowns at his album release party Saturday night at the Neptune Theatre, Damien Jurado knew he must have looked somewhat odd dressed all in white.
“This is the Silver Sister choir and the Silver brothers,” Jurado said. “And I’m their cult leader.”
He got a chuckle even if there might have been some truth to that statement. But it wasn’t the musicians gathered on stage that constituted Jurado’s cult; instead, it was his legion of fans that packed the Neptune and lined the street outside searching for extra tickets.
Jurado provided plenty of classic moments but also proved early on that his new album, “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son,” represents another evolution for the father of the modern local folk scene. He got things rolling with the aggressive bass explosion of “Silver Timothy,” a single off ”Brothers and Sisters.”
Since it was an album release show, Jurado front-loaded his set with standout tracks from his new collection of songs. “Jericho Road,” another song from “Brothers and Sisters,” was the kind of haunting lament Jurado fans are well familiar with, while “Silver Katherine” provided a lowkey moment of beauty. By the time Jurado unleashed the restrained dreampop soundscape of “Metallic Cloud,” the Kool-Aid had been drunk and the crowd was rapt.
One of the real treats of the night was the all-female choir Jurado assembled for the show, whose members included Shelby Earl and opener Naomi Wachira. Jurado lamented more than once that he would not be able to tour with the choir, and you could see why. They perfectly complemented Jurado’s crystalline tenor and their absence was felt on the songs they didn’t sing.
Still, after the choir left the focus fell back on Jurado’s voice and he closed his main set with a couple of crowd favorites, including a stripped down version of “Museum of Flight,” off his 2012 album “Maraqopa.” A request, “Sheets,” sidetracked Jurado momentarily as he reflected on how strange and wonderful it was to have lived in Seattle his entire life. The show kicked off what will be several months of touring for Jurado, and it was obvious he was happy to be playing in front of friends and family before hitting the road.
Jurado closed his show with a two-song encore, playing “Ohio” and “Working Titles.” He decided to play the latter song unmiked and stood at the edge of the stage projecting his voice as he sang, “What’s it like for you in Washington? I’ve only seen photos . . . of Washington.”
Illuminated under the house lights, the sold out crowd, the Cult of Jurado, reverently sang the song’s trademark backing vocals to their leader, giving Jurado one last memory of home to take with him on tour.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails