Monday, March 7th, 2005
Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside
Something of an inspired double-bill last night at the Horseshoe – A Girl Called Eddy and Keren Ann don’t have a whole lot in common, but they went together quite nicely. Compare and contrast New Jersey’s A Girl Called Eddy’s lush, lovelorn Bacharachian pop and Keren Ann’s delicate Gallic chamber folk. Wide-eyed innocence versus world-weary heartache. From that thematic point of view, it would have made more sense to have Keren Ann open things up, but I guess she rates as the bigger name so she got the closing timeslot.
I got a sneak preview of the night’s entertainment yesterday afternoon at Soundscapes where A Girl Called Eddy played a brief but excellent in-store set. Playing as a three-piece, her band had a whole lot of equipment for just three songs, but I’m not complaining – even in the stripped-down format, they shined. I got a few pics, but sadly, my camera technique appears better suited to dark clubs than record stores… Anyway, it certainly whetted my appetite for the evening’s performance.
They got a decent 50-minute set in last night, drawing mainly from her self-titled album but with a few new numbers thrown into the mix. Erin Moran has an amazingly emotive voice that tells as much of the story as her lyrics do, it’s really something to behold. Dusty Springfield is the obvious reference point (and Moran knows it, just look at her stage name), but from my frame of reference, there was more than a little Aimee Mann in her delivery. It’s a shame they couldn’t afford to tour with a drummer, as while the trio did an admirable job of filling out the arrangements on most of the material, the more dramatic numbers like “Tears All Over Town” and “Golden” really could have been put over the top with a real drummer instead of programmed beats. Ah well, perhaps next time.
Keren Ann, on the other hand, was touring as a two-piece – just herself on acoustic guitar and a keyboardist behind a wall of equipment. That was more than enough to recreate the lovely sparseness of her first English-language album, Not Going Anywhere, and some material from her forthcoming record Nolita, due out next week. While the roadhouse environs of the Horseshoe were a bit at odds with the hushed folk music being performed, the audience was impressively quiet and appreciative throughout the show that you didn’t really notice you weren’t in a small European jazz club with those little candles on the tables.
You know what Keren Ann’s music reminds me of? Disney soundtracks. Not the awful Elton John/Phil Collins tripe that they win Oscars with nowadays, but the old school, simple classic songs from the original cartoon features. If I close my eyes while listening to her stuff, I can picture the animated woodland creatures peeking out from behind the trees. And she almost looks like a dewey-eyed Disney ingenue. Of course, I mean this all in the most flattering sense.
So quite a good show of different but wholly complimentary singer-songwriters last night. I think I would have preferred a longer set from A Girl Called Eddy (and a drummer), but I won’t complain – I feel quite lucky to have gotten to see both these artists on the same bill. Here are some pics from right up front. It’s a shame the microphone was right in front of Keren Ann’s face, I had no angle on that whatsoever. And for the record, I was not the dude with the camera flashes that pissed off the keyboardist.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of smoky female vocals, head down to Lee’s Palace on April 10 to catch Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter. They were pretty good last time through at the Rivoli, so this could be one to see, though I wonder if they’re playing with someone else? Their free show at the Rivoli in September wasn’t really packed, so moving to a venue three-and-a-half times the size might be a little ambitious?
And speaking of the Rivoli, M Doughty will be there on May 10. The bastard never emailed me back about a guitar he was selling.
Maybe they should have called it Moving Target… New Order’s Waiting For The Siren’s Call has had it’s North American release pushed back a couple weeks to April 26… which I think is where it was originally scheduled. Make up your minds, people. But! It will contain an exclusive mix of “Guilt Is A Useless Emotion”. If that matters to you.
And also on the calendar, albeit a long ways off, the new Idlewild album, Warnings/Promises, appears to have been given an August 16 North American release. If you can’t wait, you can get the UK edition from CDWow for 8.75 GBP, postpaid. Me, I can probably wait. Who knows – maybe the domestic edition will have an exclusive mix! I guess that means no North American tour till probably the Fall…
I am going to have some soup.
np – Ivy / In The Clear