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Eric Contractor At Sidewalk, Friday, March 22nd, 2013, Reviewed

Clark Kent's younger brother, otherwise known as singer songwriter Eric Contractor, is like Superman's alter alter ego indeed. With a fantastic baritone and a clutch of great songs, he hides in plain sight on stage with an endearing awkwardness, a sort of social misfit singing dark love songs while the world at large appears to be washing its hair that night.

I don't se why this dreamscape of a man hasn't taken off. It's as if people don't quite grasp what is going on here, they hear but they don't listen and yet another terrific set falls on deaf ears. "I don't know where the songs come from" he claims, after a beautiful "The Best Man", "I hear songs in my sleep". And he keeps a tape recorder nearby him and tries to grab them before they disappear. But as Eric's performance at Sidewalks proves once again, these are sturdy songs. They cling to you and his voice, which, with the exception of a cover of "Wicked Games" and a closing blow out "If I Had You", he underplays his, and demands you meet him halfway. Sometimes people don't.

Opening with the terrific doo woppy "Nobody's Darling", a pretty pop song unlike the dark and swirling tracks on his debut album 2011 Night Escape, Contractor sets the sweeter tone. When I last saw Eric he had played a darker set than tonight's nine songs. The third song tonight, "Driving Along The Coast", is his poppiest song on the album, and the second song "Gonna Be Higher", a fine new number isn't the soaring sounds of the nights his voice was built for.

Strumming his electric guitar for the most part, Eric is a confusing figure on stage, there is something so obtuse and uncool about him yet the songs are performed with assurance and really, it reflects well of his songs that these stories of so often thwarted desires, deep running through his veins, thrive so well. The lyric to the wonderful "The Best Man" is a perfect example: the lyric is just smart yet and off "my shoes are shining and my wallet feels weak", he sings. And it is such a strange come one. Who responds to that? Yet you need to respond. He is like Vladimir Nabakov's Hugh Person in "Transparent Things" – a man settled into doing things a way he wants to and presuming the steadiness of his approach will get him where he wants to go.  Taking the piano for "Sicilian Lullaby", the music digs deep and shallow at the same time. It's like these songs need to be heard to be understood thoroughly by a large audience. They need to be larger not in themselves but in their reach and so they peer at you through a chasm of wanting.

But the real truth goes back to Eric's cover of "Wicked Games". Later that night I heard Pink cover the same song at a sold out MSG and I promise you, Contractor's version was quite as good and Eric and Pink  performed them from a similar place, from a similar strange empathy. When put side by side with anyone at all, Eric is more than up to the task.  How could a man on a guitar equal a woman with 18,000 screaming fans? Like I said., he is Clark Kent's younger brother and I am sick of keeping this a secret.

Grade: B+

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