Welcome Wagon and Sufjan Stevens at Princeton

Last night, The Welcome Wagon put on an intimate concert in Miller Chapel at Princeton Seminary. Welcome Wagon is Rev. Vito and Monique Aiuto, a husband-and-wife group who are part of Asthmatic Kitty records and live in Brooklyn. Rev. Vito is the pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg. He got his seminary degree at Princeton Seminary, and this was the first time he had played any music at the seminary since graduating in 1998. As a result, the two of them told me that this concert was very special for them. It was clear that, for both of them, the church comes first and music second.

In concert, Vito plays guitar, and Monique the glockenspiel and harmonica; both of them sing. They do not have their own album, but you can find tracks by them on a couple compilation records. They were accompanied by Jay and Alex Foote, two extraordinarily talented brothers—Jay on the upright bass and Alex on the guitar and lap steel. Finally, accompanying them on piano and banjo was none other than their very good friend, Sufjan Stevens! I had the opportunity to shake hands with Sufjan and introduce myself and Amy to him. He definitely did not want to attract any attention to himself, though a significant number of the people in the room were there to see him. He added quite a bit musically to the show, and his prodigious talent was on clear display.

Welcome Wagon played a beautiful set of songs, all but one written by other people. They covered songs by the Danielson Famile and Morrissey and played several hymns appropriate for the season. Near the end, they had us all sing along to “Once in royal David’s city.” Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of the evening was the fact that they gave away homemade food, including two large pies, a Polish poppyseed cake, and a Polish sausage dish. Chris and Anneli got the cake and had some of their friends over to eat it after the concert. It was delicious.


timcoe said…
Sufjan Stevens is maybe the least rock-starry person I've ever met. He appears to simply detest public attention and usually hides in the green room after shows until everyone has gone home.