Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
The Lula Lounge is a weird place. When I saw Jonathan Richman there last year, the dinner club vibe was evident, but they had the center part of the room in front of the stage cleared out, so the concert-goers could just stand around without being in anyone’s way. Last night for Shivaree, however, the place was filled with dinner tables and diners. The maitre d’ (yeah, maitre d’!) directed me to a table at the back of the club since I was a little late getting there. I managed to work my way up closer before the main act came on, though, as diners finished up and left.
Anyway, opening things up were a duo on guitar and ukelele who played old tin pan alley songs from the early part of the 20th century (and one Nico song from like 1980). They were excellent and entertaining – I didn’t catch their names but they said it was their first time performing together in about 20 years. You couldn’t tell.
First thing I’ll say about Shivaree to get it out of the way is that Ambrosia Parsley (her real name) is ridiculously hot. My pics from last night (which didn’t turn out as well as I’d have liked since I couldn’t really move around…) don’t do her justice. Seriously. Which is why when I say that her voice was the most mesmerizing thing about her, that’s no mean feat. Backed by a superb band (they’re touring as a five-piece), Parsley’s sultry, sexy coo was front and centre and sounded even better than it does on record. As odd as it was, the dinner theatre atmosphere was actually well-suited to Shivaree’s torchy, jazzy material. The sound was excellent and I wonder if it would have come across as well in a bar setting.
And almost better than the music was the between-song banter. Ambrosia Parsley is a very good and very funny banterer – she’s got it down to an art, friendly and conversational with the audience, seemingly unflappable. Almost every song was prefaced with a story, either about doing hash off a CD case in Paris, exorcising ghosts from her house, or her grandmother sticking a knife in her grandfather’s neck, all delivered in the most innocent voice. Sometimes the stories were longer than the songs, but you didn’t mind one bit.
So my official recommendation is for everyone to go to their second show at the Lula Lounge this Thursday. I’m quite tempted to go again, to be honest. I won’t, cause I’m lazy, but this show was just that good. And anyone else who has the opportunity to see them on any of the upcoming tour dates, do so. You won’t regret it. And if you do, well shit – that’s not my problem. Oh, and buy Who’s Got Trouble?, while you’re at it. It takes a little while, but it’s excellent.
I’d also like to check out her Ambrosia Sings The News segments on Air America, wherein she sings the week’s events in a 30-second spot – article here. That sounds too cool. The Montreal Gazette also has an interview.
Thanks to Joyce for pointing out that the new House Of Love album, Days Run Away, is available to stream on their label’s website (click on “audio”). My impressions – it’s pretty good, though it lacks the edge and urgency that made the first two eponymous albums so excellent. But that’s probably to be expected since they are older and (presumably) calmer now. But apparently they still kick ass live. The Guardian takes a look at how this unlikeliest of reunions came about.
As predicted, Take Fountain was nowhere to be found in stores yesterday, but Bradley eases the pain with some live Wedding Present mp3s from a live show in 1992. I also consoled myself with the Asobi Seksu album and the new Radio Dept EP.
Don’t forget – The Comas are playing a free show at Lee’s tonight! All the cool kids will be there and if we wait around outside afterwards, we can jump them and steal their shoes.
np – The Mountain Goats / We Shall All Be Healed