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Graham Nash

  • Capitol Theater 201 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Kris Kristofferson once said that Graham Nash "knocked everybody out" with an impromptu rendition of "Marrakesh Express" at a 1969 party that included Kristofferson, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. On the other hand, Iggy Pop once said that "Marrakesh Express," one of Nash's staple songwriting contributions to Crosby, Stills, And Nash, "may be the worst song ever written." That's a good barometer of the kind of polarized response that Nash's work can create. Nash first became famous for his work as a phenomenal harmony vocalist and emerging songwriter in The Hollies early on, and then joined one of the first superstar rock groups, CSN, when it was clear that his rapidly increasing interest in the psychedelic counterculture of the times ran in direct opposition to his Hollies bandmates' tastes. Nash immediately fashioned an image for himself as the member who ran in the middle between the extremes of his often spaced-out bandmates—the one who could be counted on to most reliably adhere to concise pop songwriting that would impact the charts, even if he wasn't as superficially cool as either Crosby or Stills, not to mention the last (and always half-committed at best) member of the group, Neil Young. And indeed, many of CSN's most memorable singles were Nash compositions. In addition to "Marrakesh Express," "Teach Your Children," "Our House," and "Just a Song Before I Go" were all significant hits that kept the group's commercial fortunes going throughout the 1970s. But the catch was that Nash needed at least incrementally darker foils like David Crosby and Stephen Stills to balance out his lighter and sometimes cloying offerings over the course of a full album. Taking in a Graham Nash solo album at once can sometimes be like eating a box of Pixie Stix by yourself, and his political songwriting, while undoubtedly sincere, could also be self-righteous and soft-headed. A song about the disaster of the 1968 Democratic Convention was a good idea, but the chorus of "Chicago" literally blared "We can change the world / We can rearrange the world" without taking heed of death threats from any number of insulted rhyming dictionaries. Still, Nash was an essential part of what made CSN/Y so successful, and he released a new album, This Path Tonight, in 2016. —Mike Noto  

Earlier Event: October 14
Matt Jencik, Matchess, Auscultation
Later Event: October 14
Fringe Character, Better Yeti