Total gig rating: 9/10
Nope, no mom this time. It’s a sad day for many. She had cards to go to tonight and luckily this particular show was all ages. Instead of my mother, I went with my lovely friend Destinee (@belugasupreme). Before the show, we went to a reaaaaally delicious restaurant/bakery called Cupcake. This isn’t a paid promo or anything, but I just want to say that the food was extremely good. Just… If you’re ever by the U of M campus, make sure to stop in there because they have yummy food and sweet cupcakes. Half the night was spent by us marveling over the delicious.
File into the Cedar, sit down, talk for an hour, yadda yadda yadda. Then the show starts off with a local duet called The Bello Duo. They started off their set with a pretty low-key song, and were accompanied by a local singer, whose name I cannot find. Sorry ‘bout that. I have a certain kind of synesthesia with music and if I had to describe what The Bello Duo’s music looked like, it would probably be browns and dark blues with slow waves in it. They had a few technical difficulties with a booming bass amp, but otherwise the show went pretty smoothly. they kept the set interesting by switching between livelier songs and slower ones. At one point they brought the singer back out on stage and played a cover of Joanna Newsom’s “en Gallop”. Immediately after that,they covered Beyoncé’s “Halo”, which was actually pulled off well. For both songs, the singer’s voice was a bit breathy and slightly sour on the high notes, but I respected her effort to cover the artists that she did, because they both have very unique voices. Overall, if I was scoring The Bello Duo alone, I would probably give them a 7/10.
Next up, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) trotted on stage wearing a pantsuit and a white hat fashioned out of a plate and bowl. She told us that she’d forgotten her real hat at home and had a to borrow hat-making supplies from Garrison Keillor (she was on A Prairie Home Companion on Saturday). She was costumed this way to play an original score that she’d written and preformed for The New York Guitar Festival. It was set to a Buster Keaton film named The Balloonatic, which was made in 1923. Shara’s score fit beautifully and effortlessly into the film’s content and was accented by some vocal and bass recordings. I really enjoyed the mix of media that was involved in the project and it was a good introduction to the show. It only lasted about 20 minutes but it really was wonderful and actually really funny. Whilst Shara and her brother prepared for the next section of the show, they put on a ticking beat and raced around and moved equipment and Shara shed her pantsuit. She made fun of it by dancing and hopping around the stage in order to get everything situated. Her new outfit comprised of red tights, a sparkly black dress, and a red, orange, black, yellow, and white poncho-thing made out of a bunch of felt circles. You could tell right away that she really had fun and enjoyed being on stage, and between sets both joked and talked seriously to the audience. Her whole attitude was charming and energetic and fully succeeded in drawing the crowd in and making a wonderful atmosphere. I did get a setlist, but she changed it up a bit so it’s not entirely accurate. I know that she didn’t play She Does Not Brave the War and also added a Prince cover to the set. I was surprised to find that her show was a solo one, and previously thought that she had one or two people on stage to help her out. Although she was alone, she definitely managed to hold her own. I really didn’t find the show scant even though all of her songs were either vocals+one instrument or vocals+one instrument+drum machine. Her set was mostly songs off of her new album, All Things Will Unwind, but she also interspersed some covers and older songs of hers. At one moment, she played I Have Never Loved Someone which was a song that she had written for a her son. It was extremely sweet and sincere and I think everyone in the audience had the warm fuzzies. She also explained other stories behind her songs throughout the show (which I will add below). Her covers included How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore by Prince, Feeling Good by Nina Simone, and To Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan, and a Kurt Weill song named Youkali (thanks tylerbarton for letting me know). Feeling Good can generally seem to be over-done, but Shara executed it exceedingly well. It was a simple but soulful and energetic version and one of the best covers of FG that I’ve ever heard. The show was just overall a wonderful experience filled with paper discs and balloons and bright colours and first-time rapping and general amazingness.
Everything Is In Line: She was at a 5-year-olds’ birthday party and one of the little girls said that she had balloons at her party last year, but one of them flew away and she hadn’t seen it since. She went on to tell Shara that when she grew up she was going to fly a hot air balloon around to find it. In essence, Shara said the song was about dreams.
The Gentlest Gentleman: She talked about her own grandfather and said that he’s “slowly fading from this plane” (one of the best death euphemisms that I’ve heard). She explained that this song is about an old man, but did not necessarily say it was her grandfather.
Escape Routes: For this, she talked about a Laurie Anderson show that she had seen. The show was about Laurie talking to her mother on her death bed and not necessarily being able to tell her that she loved her, but trying to tell her something honest. Shara talked to Laurie after the show and told Laurie that she was questioning her own ability to truly love. Laurie responded by saying “Maybe it takes more than a lifetime to learn how to love.”
“*whispering* She’s probably touched Sufjan’s face” -Me (I know it’s not funny but I was in awe)
“What animal are you?!” - crowd member
“I’m an electron and a proton, I’m supposed to look like a nucleus. Isn’t it obvious?” -Shara
“This next song’s a hootenanny!” -Shara
And there were a lot more amazing quotes but I can’t remember them all. She really was fantastically hilarious.
Sorry for the crap quality of the photos. We technically weren’t supposed to take pictures. Shhh…..
*denotes shows for which I positively have a media pass. All other shows are pending, and media pass requests have not been turned down yet.
I’m seeing Gregory Alan Isakov at The Cedar Cultural Center on Oct. 27th
NOTE: Sorry for the delay of this review. I went home early and had a lot of homework over the weekend.
Total gig rating: 7
Hey you guys, guess who won show tickets again? It’s really not that hard, but I’m going to let you figure out how to do it yourselves. Don’t want to give away all of my secrets, now do I?
Because it’s always the first and most important order of business, no, I did not attend this gig with my mom because The Cedar is all-ages which makes me happy. She did however pick me up after the show.
After a while of talking to the ACTUAL FRIEND I was with, Mystery Palace started up their show. They all seemed like nice people, but I wasn’t impressed by their show. The first issue I had was that their vocals were turned way down. I like bands without vocals if they have enough substance to them, but this band did not intend to be without vocals and could not stand up without them. I found their songs to be repetitive and rather boring. The only good thing was that their drummer had a pretty driving beat, yet it was still repetitive. Also, they seemed like nice guys. Trust me, I would love to give every local band I see a glowing review, but I simply cannot if it is not deserved. They seemed like nice guys though.
Next up! CD release show for Peter Wolf Crier, so the setlist was naturally full of Garden of Arms. I do believe they played solely that album and in order, with the exception of one song from Inter-Be. As a whole, they put on a really great show. Some of the highlights were “Beach” and “Hard Heart”. I do think I’ve been depriving myself of good rock shows, because those songs were absolutely wonderful. Beach got really intense towards the end, and the whole band is so talented at what they do. Brian Moen was drumming so hard and fast that two shards of drumstick flung themselves across the stage right at Peter. It was pretty amusing, allowing that both pieces landed without causing harm. Peter got really into his guitar playing as well, which was only a bit weird looking because he was sitting down. I don’t really care if you think you look like a maniac on stage. That translates, that makes the whole performance exciting and fun. It’s the best when a song can make me smile simply because of the energy it’s performed with. There were a few small points when the excitement level of the performance dipped, but it was otherwise an overall really solid show. A couple issues with mics had us waiting for 10 minutes or so altogether, but they didn’t matter in the end. During on specific song, Peter was having a bit of trouble reaching his high notes, but it wasn’t nails-on-chalkboard, certainly. I’m really glad I won tickets, and I hope to see Peter Wolf Crier rise in success with this coming tour.
Quotes from the evening, as remembered:
“Buy our t shirt… We have a t shirt…. There’s a rabbit on our t shirt, I like Rabbits” -Mystery Palace
“This next song’s for the only radio station that matters, eighty-nine three The Current *plays a song* ….and also, Radio K matters. Wow, that could’ve been bad if I didn’t say anything” -Peter Pisano
“I’m taking pictures because I want to remind Peter that people actually came out to see us. So when we’re on tour and there’s ten people in the audience I can show him them and say “See, people came out to see us.”” -Brian Moen