By Keeyahtay Lewis
Fresh off of stops at Bethlehem Musicfest and Lollapooloza, Jane’s Addiction brought their Theatre Of The Escapists tour to The State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ on Sunday night. At about 9:20 or so the lights went down, the audience stood up, and Jane’s Addiction took the stage. The background was what looked like a sculpture of two naked ladies and there were also girls hanging down from the ceiling on swings. From where I was standing it didn’t look like the band had changed much in the last 20+ years. Singer Perry Farrell, drummer Stephen Perkins, bass player Chris Chaney, and the “Ink Master” himself on guitar, Dave Navarro. They all looked fit, and like they were ready to tear the State Theatre apart.
Opening with “Underground”, “Mountain Song” and “Just Because” the band sounded pretty great. Never having seen the band before, I was quite impressed. Up next was the band’s biggest hit, “Been Caught Steeling” and everyone in New Brunswick lost their minds at once. The State Theatre is typically a place for theatrical plays, but on Sunday night Jane’s Addiction turned it into a full blown party.
Because there is no real barrier at The State Theatre, the band, specifically Farrell and Navarro could be seen shaking hands, pounding fists, and sharing smiles with fans against the stage the whole night. Farrell has always been a charismatic front man and he certainly charmed those in the front. The background always stayed pretty interesting: girls hanging from swings, girls floating across the stage, naked girl statues, lights and girls, girls, girls. But at times it was really quite beautiful.
“Ain’t No Right”, “Irresistible Force” and another fan favorite, “Jane Says” kept everyone on their feet the whole time. The band jumped around all four studio albums with “Up the Beach”, “Had A Dad” and “Three Days” before leaving the stage for a short time. They band returned to play three more: “Splash A Little Water On It”, “Ocean Size” and “Stop!” before taking a bow, and walking off for good.
The band has been on hiatus, switched members and reunited more than a few times in their career, but this latest reunion felt like a good one. It is always nice to see a band enjoying themselves, and it definitely showed on Sunday night. Farrell and the rest have made no definite plans on what is happening after this tour. A follow up to The Great Escape Artist has been hinted at, but nothing solid. Watching them play on Sunday though, if they come off this tour and take that energy into the studio, the next album should be a killer one. In the meantime, it is nice to see a band do what they do best, and loving every second of it.
By Matt Arena
Before her two-night stint at New Yorkâ€™s Webster Hall, Marina and the Diamonds played a small, intimate show on the rooftop penthouse of the Mondrian Hotel in Soho. Not being too familiar with her material prior to this, it was quite an experience getting to see her play to a tiny group of people. With her classy attire and an incredibly stripped down set (just an acoustic guitar and keyboard for the backing band), she showcased a handful of songs of her latest release, Electra Heart and her first album The Family Jewels. Songs like â€˜Lies,â€™ which she herself called â€œthe most depressing love song ever,â€ and the upcoming single â€˜How to be a Heartbreaker,â€™ both sounded incredible as her powerful voice is the anchor that most of her songs tie themselves to. The latter has an infectious chorus, the type thatâ€™s destined to be a constant on the radio waves come October when the single drops. Though Marinaâ€™s sound might be more fitting in a 1950â€™s smoky jazz club than a modern New York City hotel rooftop, that didnâ€™t stop it from being one of the more impressive acoustic sets out there. â€œStripped downâ€ usually means boring to some bands, but Marinaâ€™s natural ability comes from a very stripped down place so it was incredibly well fitting. Itâ€™s clear that she doesnâ€™t need to rely on heavy production to put on a good show and no doubt everyone at the show would agree.
Taking an almost concept approach to her latest album, Marina uses the title character to represent four archetypes within the music; the primadonna, su-barbie-a, the homewrecker and the teen idol. The multi-faceted approach to the music and concept behind the album most definitely comes across in a live environment as well. Each of the songs seems to take on the titular archetype, giving a much more dynamic sound and allowing her to become much more than just an average pop star. In a musical climate where the Katy Perryâ€™s of the world reign supreme, itâ€™s refreshing to see a female singer like Marina and the Diamonds show that pop music doesnâ€™t have to be formulaic or clichÃ©. Currently in support of the album, Marina and the Diamonds are headlining Webster Hall this coming Thursday and Saturday and if her performance with just an acoustic guitar, keyboard, and microphone is any judge, sheâ€™s sure to put on a stellar show.
When you see a band like Sigur RÃ³s in a cemetery, then youâ€™re not just going to some concert, youâ€™re going for an experience. In fact, whenever bands play the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, they always add some kind of visual or sound installation before the show even begins. When I saw instrumental-rock quartet Explosions in the Sky at the Cemetery last year, visual artists created installations that responded and interpreted songs from their latest album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. And on Sunday night, that was again the case before the show even began when first walking through the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with a sound installation that Sigur RÃ³s did. Amplifiers were placed next to graves along the walking path playing sounds like church bells or people talking about those they have lost. And at times, it would be playing random sounds of ambience to create layers of textures. The sound installation combined with the performance conjured up themes of romanticism and memory. Well, those themes may be a bit subjective, but what Iâ€™m trying to say is that their performance drew out all kinds of different feelings and emotions. If there is one common word to describe the whole night, itâ€™s what frontman JÃ³nsi Birgisson called it â€“ spectacular.
Opening the night was Los Angeles-based songstress Julia Holter, whose set consisted of songs from her critically acclaimed sophomore LP, Ekstasis. Along with drummer Corey Fogel and cellist Chris Votek, Holter serenaded the crowd with her lush, baroque-pop-filled tunes. â€œOur Sorrowâ€ featured hymn-like arrangements and steady rhythm that displayed her classically-trained background, while â€œFÃ¼r Felixâ€ and â€œMarienbadâ€ hypnotized the crowd with her vocal melodies that could be traced back to Asia or the Middle East. Holter acted as a subtle yet illuminating opener for the headlining act.
Promptly at 8:30, the Icelandic collective came out on stage in full force, donning vintage military-esque jackets and a string and brass section. The stage was also decorated on three sides with projection screens, emphasizing heavily on the visual aspect of the experience. Whether it was the images on the screens or the silhouettes emanating from the band members, it was definitely a visual spectacle as much as it was a musical spectacle.
It would be difficult to breakdown this review by each song they played and might take away from the experience as a whole. Rather, it would be appropriate to describe the set as whole to best of my ability. For two full hours, Sigur RÃ³s astonished the entire crowd and not one minute was wasted. JÃ³nsi didnâ€™t take time between songs to engage in banter; it was song after song after song. In moments of silence during songs such as â€œViÃ°rar Vel Til LoftÃ¡rÃ¡sa,â€ the band would stand still as if their own music removed them reality. And in conjunction, the crowd looked up, holding their breath and waiting in anticipation of when the next note will be played.
Assuming that no one in the crowd knew the Vonlenska language, there were no lyrics to sing along to. Instead, JÃ³nsiâ€™s vocals came off as a surreal and beautiful instrument that he was playing along with his guitar. His beautiful, pitch perfect falsetto soared above into the night sky while the crowd looked up in awe. There was one chilling moment during â€œSvefn-g-englarâ€ where he sang the hook into his guitar and reverberated that sound through the speakers, giving that effect of distance. It demonstrated that his voice has that ability to travel through any object and have it still sound graceful and heart-wrenching.
Note for note, the crowd was right there along with the band. Whether it was moving to the delicate piano melodies, head banging to Orri DÃ½rasonâ€™s thunderous rhythms, or following JÃ³nsiâ€™s bow as he strummed his guitar with elegance, the crowd was without a doubt entranced by haunting and ethereal sounds shimmering from the stage in front of them. Watching Sigur RÃ³s live is like reading a fantasy novel: it takes you on an otherworldly experience thatâ€™s full of magical journeys and surprises.
Without question, Of Monsters and Men has been one of those sudden impact bands that seemingly come out of nowhere. Well not literally out of nowhere; they hail from Iceland. That country must have something in its water since the artists that come from there are huge â€“ Bjork and Sigur Ros. But last night at the Observatory in Santa Ana, Of Monsters and Men found time in between their festival circuit to play a sold out show, proving that theyâ€™re the next big thing to come out of the Land of Fire and Ice.
Before the first band even went on, the entire crowd was practically drenched in sweat. That can be attributed to the intimacy of the venue. Those that made it will probably never see Of Monsters and Men in a venue that small, so this was a last chance kind of show for people to see them up close and for only $20.
As expected, their set consisted of songs from their debut album My Head is an Animal, which was originally released in 2011. The beauty of their music comes from lead vocalists Ragnar Ã¾Ã³rhallsson and Nanna HilmarsdÃ³ttir, whose vocals masterfully and intimately intertwine with one another. It really is seamless and natural when you see and hear them sing or finish each otherâ€™s lines during a song.
They opened with the â€œDirty Paws,â€ and from there the crowd was in full force, singing from the top of their lungs and clapping along to the rhythm. Itâ€™s a song that starts off slowly, but bursts into energy thanks to drummer Arnar Hilmarsson. â€œFrom Finnerâ€ followed next, which summed up the bandâ€™s uncanny ability to always involve the crowd as much as possible. From the â€œhey heyâ€ to the â€œla la laâ€ melodies of the song, there was always that joyous performer-audience interaction that I havenâ€™t seen in a while from a live show. â€œSlow and Steadyâ€ was just like as the name sounds, as HilmarsdÃ³ttir took over vocal duties, tenderly singing along to the rhythm of a bass drum and the crowdâ€™s hand claps.
On â€œMountain Sound,â€ HilmarsdÃ³ttir set out a competition between the boys and the girls in the room with the former singing along to Ã¾Ã³rhallsson and the latter singing along with HilmarsdÃ³ttir. It clearly was a blissful atmosphere as the lines â€œhold your horses nowâ€ and â€œwe sleep until the sun goes downâ€ were sung by each side and converging on the line â€œthrough the woods we ran.â€ It really was something I havenâ€™t seen in a long time where an audience was so in sync with a band. They even through a bit of a twist in their set by doing a raw cover of the Cureâ€™s â€œClose to Me.â€ On â€œYour Bones,â€ lovely touring member Ragnhildur GunnarsdÃ³ttir added a soothing trumpet to the fold, while â€œLove Love Loveâ€ saw HilmarsdÃ³ttir give the crowd a lesson in the Icelandic language.
In â€œKing and Lionheart,â€ the crowd was basically the entire rhythm section, clapping along to the percussion for the entire duration of the song and singing along to the song about courage and carrying on a brave demeanor. No one in the crowd was certainly afraid the let loose to show their appreciation to the band, even if some of their moves wereâ€¦questionable. â€œLakehouseâ€ slowed down the tempo of the night as the crowd served as the vocal melodies of the song, belting out the â€œla la laâ€ melody as loud as they possibly could.
To no surprise, â€œLittle Talksâ€ garnered the loudest ovation of the night as HilmarsdÃ³ttir asked the crowd â€œAre you ready for this? Hold on to the edge of your seat.â€ Everyone was dancing and singing along to every note, as HilmarsdÃ³ttir and Ã¾Ã³rhallsson fed off each otherâ€™s lines and energy. The crowd didnâ€™t even need to be commanded to sing as the band silenced their instruments to let the audience sing the ending chorus on their own. GunnarsdÃ³ttir even provided a pretty ear-popping and impressive trumpet solo thatâ€™s not found on the record.
For their encore, they came back out for a trio of songs. On folk number â€œSloom,â€ the two vocalists sang a duet until the rest of the members made their way back on stage, leading the chorus of â€œso love me mother, love me father, and sister/brother as well.â€ They also played an unreleased song called â€œBeneath My Bed,â€ which Ã¾Ã³rhallsson joked was on YouTube. They officially ended the night with â€œYellow Lightâ€ that featured delicate piano keys by Ãrni GuÃ°jÃ³nsson and a jazzy trumpet by GunnarsdÃ³ttir, as HilmarsdÃ³ttir fist pumped those in the front row a good night.
Iâ€™ve already stated this earlier, but Of Monsters and Men definitely know how to get a crowd involved to the point where the crowd was basically part of the band. Standing in the middle of all that singing along made it a definitive experience. But when youâ€™re a band whose members are multi-instrumentalists, play catchy music with heartfelt and genuine lyrics, the crowd will always be at your side. After their done playing festivals, it really might be difficult to catch them in a small venue like the Observatory. It wouldnâ€™t be surprising to see them play a venue like the Wiltern or even the Hollywood Bowl. Regardless, if they roll through your town, do your best to buy tickets as fast as possible because it will sell out real quick.
By Michel Dussack
Bloc Partyâ€™s recent warm-up tour had all the potential to either be a complete disaster or a tour that would spark the envy of anyone not close enough to a city that the band would stop at. Itâ€™s always risky playing unreleased material at a show, however to play unreleased material shortly after coming out of hiatus, when youâ€™re already prone to being a bit rusty live, now thatâ€™s risky. However, if thereâ€™s one thing that Bloc Party has perfected in the past ten years, itâ€™s been their live shows, and the band pulled off an incredible set at the second of their three sold out shows at New Yorkâ€™s Terminal 5.
The quartet took the stage and immediately began to play â€˜So He Begins to Lieâ€™ off their upcoming album, â€œFourâ€ to screams and cheers from the crowd. That reaction was nothing compared to the excitement that spread as Bloc Party worked backwards through their discography playing a song from each album culminating in an explosive rendition of â€˜Tensionâ€™. At this time front man Kele Okereke thanked the crowd and reminded them that they had a new album coming out soon, as the band ripped into another track off it, â€˜Kettlingâ€™. Arguably the most aggressive of the new material played, itâ€™s clear the passion and angst is still present for the band in 2012, something longtime fans will be pleased to hear.
The night continued in this manner, bouncing back and forth between new and old (though truth be told, it all blended quite nicely) until the final three songs of the main set. Before beginning the 2009 single â€˜One More Chanceâ€™, Kele addressed the crowd and asked if they were having a good time, though he quickly answered his own question, noting he could â€œsmell all that reefer, I know youâ€™re having a good time out thereâ€. Two tracks from the bands debut album followed to close out the main set, with â€˜Like Eating Glassâ€™ sending the pit on the floor into a frenzy before the band walked off stage.
Bloc Party quickly returned to play a four song encore that opened with another new song, â€˜Truthâ€™. â€˜Aresâ€™ followed and was prefaced by Kele screaming â€œIf you got any fight left in you, you might enjoy this one. Donâ€™t be a pussy New York!â€. Bloc Party then closed their encore with â€˜Helicopterâ€™ which helped to form the biggest mosh pits of the night. Kele thanked the crowd for what seemed like the fifteenth time, and again the band was off the stage. While most bands would stop at this point, this was a â€œfucking Bloc Party gigâ€ and they werenâ€™t quite finished playing yet.
The second encore was brief but effective. It opened with new single â€˜Octopusâ€™ which is infectiously catchy and fueled by a screeching guitar solo thanks to Russell Lissack. Next (and last) up was â€˜Fluxâ€™ which oddly enough the band opened with a verse from Rihannaâ€™s â€˜We Found Loveâ€™. As everyone in attendance danced out the absolute last of their energy, the band could be seen beaming on stage, and itâ€™s easy to tell that theyâ€™re just as happy as everyone else that theyâ€™re back.
1. So He Begins To Lie
3. Hunting for Witches
4. Positive Tension
6. Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
8. Real Talk
9. One More Chance
10. This Modern Love
11. Like Eating Glass
14. The Prayer
17. Flux (We Found Love intro)
By Michel Dussack
On August 2nd, Austin based rock trio Ume played a ferocious thirty minute set in the Grand Ballroom of Webster Hall as a part of their tour with Helmet and Toadies. Ume filled the room with heavily distorted guitar riffs during their set which comprised mostly of unreleased material thanks to guitarist and singer Lauren Larson. The band opened up with one of their bigger songs, â€˜The Conductorâ€™ and from the first few notes played, it was clear that Lauren would not be contained to a small area on the stage. Whenever she wasnâ€™t singing, she was flailing all over the stage, guitar in hand, dropping to the floor to continue playing several times.
While on records the band has numerous intricacies on their songs, those were lost in the live mix in favor of aggression and distortion. Eric Larson on bass and Rachel Fuhrer on drums rounded out the sound of the band, though neither could quite match Laurenâ€™s energy. New material followed the opening song and like most of the bands material, it was led by intricate, yet distorted riffs. While the songs havenâ€™t officially been titled, the working titles of the songs are â€˜Battleheadâ€™, â€˜Chase it Downâ€™, â€˜Bass Faceâ€™, and â€˜Slow Pogâ€™.
The more familiar sounding â€˜Xie-Xieâ€™ and â€˜Black Stoneâ€™ closed out Umeâ€™s set that went by far too quickly, and the band succeeded in setting the bar high for the next two bands to take the stage. When Ume first began playing, the venue wasnâ€™t nearly full, however more and more people filed in throughout their set and they all seemed impressed. Numerous member of the crowd made their way to the merch table after the bands set to buy Umeâ€™s music and to chat with the band.
1. The Conductor
2. Battlehead (working)
3. Chase it Down (working)
4. Bass Face (working)
5. Slow Pog (working)
7. Black Stone
Itâ€™s been a big summer for Haim. First they made a splash at SXSW, then landed major opening slots for the xx and Mumford & Sons, and followed that up with the launch of their new EP. The timing seemed perfect for this all sister LA trio to really take off. Much like The Alabama Shakes, Haim has been able to translate a big SXSW presence with continued success. Reviews for the EP have been stellar, with major publications like the UKâ€™s NME Magazine showing major love for the bandâ€™s release, they seem ready to be the next indie sensation.
Playing a Neon Gold showcase last Thursday to an incredibly packed crowd at NYCâ€™s Santos Party House, they left little doubt that their current unsigned and relatively unknown status in America wonâ€™t last very long. Fronted by sisters Danielle, Alana, and Este Haim (plus Dash Hutton on drums), they possess a rather unique sound that seems to cross over a number of genres. At times sounding like modern blues/alt rock like The Black Keys, other times more reminiscent of female fronted classic rock like Fleetwood Mac, and even a bit of old Motown R&B; itâ€™s very hard to limit Haim to just one musical style. Lead singing duties switch between Danielle, Alana, and Este from song to song, with the genres constantly changing from each sisterâ€™s unique voice. Itâ€™s always a good mark of a live band where they can go beyond replicating their sound on record, and thatâ€™s certainly the case with Haim. While a bit restrained on studio recordings, the live atmosphere really sees this band at the loosest possible as they improvise with spur-of-the-moment jams and are able to produce a much fuller sound. Many times multitasking on instruments during songs, it was pretty obvious right off the bat that they can make a lot of noise for just four people. This was no more evident than during their last song, which devolved into an outro and all four o them on stage slamming their drumsticks down upon standalone floor toms. Sounding more like a breakdown during The Lion King on Broadway than a closing song at an indie rock showcase, it just further proved how diverse Haim can truly be.
Far from their hometown of Los Angeles, the band seemed quite happy to be in New York. Stating the trouble theyâ€™d no doubt get in if staying longer in NYC, bassist Este predicted, â€œIâ€™d probably be pregnant,â€ the band seemed incredibly well received. Relying on their strengths in vocals and percussion, they were able to generate a lot of noise while staying somewhat stripped down at the same time. Sounding like an amalgamation of genres and musical time periods, itâ€™s more than fair to say that Haim donâ€™t sound like anything else youâ€™ve heard before. Whereas most new bands tend to use genre molds and structures as a crutch, especially early in their career, Haim do the opposite. Crafting and sticking with their unique sound, and being such stellar live performers, there isnâ€™t any end to the bandâ€™s building reputation in sight. The top floor of Santos Party House was packed unbelievably tightly all the way as far back as the floor entrance, definitely delivering on all the buzz the band has garnered these past few months. In an industry where â€œbuzz bandsâ€ come and go almost every season, itâ€™s usually pretty clear which ones intend on sticking around. Haim are definitely one of those bands.
By Michel Dussack
To say Mumford & Sons have come a long way in the past two years would be a gross understatement. Itâ€™s hard to even fathom that the band that played Bowery Ballroom in 2010 opened their 2012 Summer Tour playing to 15,000 people on Hobokenâ€™s Pier A, a venue which has never seen a concert that large ever.
Opening the show was Aaron Embry, the former touring pianist from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. He took the stage armed with a guitar and harmonica and played a soft and quiet thirty minute set that didnâ€™t quite grab the audience as it should have. His music was heartfelt and delicate, particularly his last song, which comprised simply of him playing the piano without even singing.
Next was Dawes who ramped up the energy significantly. Vocalist Taylor Goldsmith ran about the stage with his guitar and frequently posed for photographers when he wasnâ€™t singing. The band has a distinct folk sound to them, but also seems to take a cue from jam bands as well, leading to an interesting blend of the two genres. A few guitar solos that seemed improvised made their way into the set, and they definitely succeeded in winning over the crowd.
As the cloudy sky cleared and the sun went down, it was immediately obvious why Mumford & Sons chose to play in Hoboken. The stage was framed by the gorgeous Manhattan skyline, and was easily accessible via public transportation. The band took the stage to screams and shouts and immediately began playing a song from their upcoming sophomore album â€œBabelâ€, â€˜Loverâ€™s Eyesâ€™. While at first I was concerned as to how the folk band would translate into such a large space, it only took a few minutes for all my fears to be relieved. Their 16 song set spanned about an hour and forty minutes, and consisted of a fairly even mixture of songs from their debut and new songs.
â€˜Little Lion Manâ€™, one of the bands biggest hits, came second in the set and hearing 15,000 people scream the chorus along with Marcus Mumford is something that the band probably never couldâ€™ve imagined. Throughout the night, the band had numerous moments of funny banter, something that has been a trademark of their shows since the beginning. A couple songs later, much to everyoneâ€™s delight, the band unveiled a never before played song entitled â€˜I Will Waitâ€™. In general, the new songs seem a lot fuller than their first album, and the band has definitely succeeded in their goal of making the quiet moments quieter and the loud moments louder.
Perhaps the most unique thing about a Mumford & Sons concert is the way the members regularly switch instruments throughout the night. While Marcus typically plays acoustic guitar, a kick drums and sings, he also had some time behind a full drum kit (while still singing) and an electric guitar. Ben Lovett switches between keyboards and drums, Country Winston Marshall plays banjo and guitar, and Ted Dwane plays both upright and electric bass. Thatâ€™s all not counting the four part harmonies that the group so effortlessly pulls off.
The band concluded their main set with â€˜Dust Bowl Danceâ€™ which starts off slow and somber but quickly explodes with a sense of anger thanks to Marcusâ€™ part on the drums. Before they came back out for their encore, their brass section returned to the stage for a brief rendition of â€˜New Yorkâ€™, a perfect acknowledgement of their location. Also in the encore was a cover of Simon & Garfunkelâ€™s â€˜The Boxerâ€™ which seemed lost on the younger segment of the crowd, and an energetic rendition of their biggest hit â€˜The Caveâ€™ to close out their set. It should be noted that the band had tried to add a song between these two; however they were quickly shut down as there was a strict 10pm curfew. As the final notes of â€˜The Caveâ€™ rang out of the speakers a three minute barrage of fireworks erupted from the Hudson River and capped off a wonderful night with one of the fastest rising bands around.
Mumford and Sons setlist
1. Lovers Eyes
2. Little Lion Man
3. Roll Away Your Stone
4. I Will Wait
5. White Blank Page
6. I Gave You All
8. Lover of the Light
9. Thistle & Weeds
10. Ghosts That We Knew
11. Awake My Soul
13. Dust Bowl Dance
14. New York (horn section)
15. Winter Winds
16. The Boxer (cover)
17. The Cave
MUMFORD AND SONS
Letâ€™s start off with the facts. Fiona Apple has been in the music business for 16 years and currently back from her six-year hiatus. Her latest album, The Idler Wheelâ€¦, has garnered tons of critical praise and is one of the best releases this year. And on Sunday night, she took the stage in front of a sold-out and insanely excited Los Angeles crowd at the Hollywood Palladium.
But if thereâ€™s something that hasnâ€™t changed at all for Apple, itâ€™s that sheâ€™s as emotionally charged as ever â€“ perhaps even more so now. In the past, sheâ€™s has let her emotions get the best of her a couple of times, leading to some public criticism. However, that was about a decade ago. Today, sheâ€™s definitely more mature and control of her emotions, evidenced by the devastatingly powerful and beautiful performance she put on for the awe-struck crowd.
Appleâ€™s spectacular set took about an hour and a half and consisted of older songs. In fact, only four new songs from The Idler Wheelâ€¦ were performed, but the crowd had no problem with it at all. By the time she took the stage, it was almost 30 minutes after her scheduled start time. But in typical-yet-quirky Apple charm, she apologized to the crowd as she had no excuses, just nerves. And you can tell it that she was legitimately nervous â€“ she kept fidgeting with her hair or her scarf in between songs. All it showed was another side to Apple that she isnâ€™t afraid to show, and that kind of emotional transparency is what made her set very compelling and genuine.
She opened with the frenetic and face-paced â€œFast As You Can,â€ then followed it up with â€œOn the Boundâ€ and â€œShadowboxerâ€ that pulled everyone into 90s nostalgia immediately. By then, Apple made it clear that her backup band was going to up at the forefront with her â€“ especially guitarist Blake Mills (also the opener for the night), who delivered blistering guitar riffs and solos throughout, and drummer Amy Wood, who provided a stellar rhythm for the nightâ€™s delicate melodies. Even songs that were piano-led put the spotlight and attention on them.
What made the show an actual experience is that when she sang the lyrics, you can really feel the emotion that resonated from the song. For example, in the multi-layered â€œAnything We Want,â€ you can feel the intimate nature of the song as she delivered the lines â€œand I kept touching my neck to guide your eye to where I wanted you to kiss me/when we find some time alone.â€ And at other times, her raw delivery on songs such as â€œEvery Single Nightâ€ and â€œPaper Bagâ€ made you feel sympathy for her due to the intense nature of the songs. It was this type of performance that defined what a concert experience should be like â€“ being able to feel what the performer is trying to convey, expressing sympathy while she exposes her vulnerability.
At other times, it was simply impressive to hear the raw power behind Appleâ€™s delivery, as her stout contralto traveled throughout the Palladium with clarity and confidence wanting to burst beyond the venue walls. On â€œDaredevil,â€ you can immediately hear the tremble and aggression in her voice as she sang â€œseek me out/look at look at look at me/Iâ€™m all the fishes in the sea/wake me up/give me give me give me what you got/in your mind, in the middle of the night.â€ And in contrast, â€œWerewolfâ€ and â€œExtraordinary Machineâ€ were more minimal numbers that she sang with delicacy over a piano, with which she also harmonized with her vocals. Itâ€™s her uncanny ability to be flexible and agile with her vocals that shows her amazing control over her voice and her emotions.
And on a night were the crowd (or most of them) cheered and hollered at every moment they could, closer â€œNot About Loveâ€ drew one of the loudest reactions. Mostly everyone was dancing, bobbing up and down, or singing along (some did all three at once), as they did throughout the night. Without doing the whole encore shtick (get off the stage and come back on later), Apple explained to the crowd to pretend they had a time machine and move forward in time as if she left the stage and came back on. To officially end the night, she did a cover of Conway Twittyâ€™s â€œItâ€™s Only Make Believe.â€ It was easily one of the more devastatingly beautiful moments of the night and created a sense of surrealism that made it the perfect way to send everyone home.
If thereâ€™s one thing that isnâ€™t â€˜make believe,â€™ itâ€™s Fiona Apple. Personally, itâ€™s one of the few shows that Iâ€™ve been to that I can actually call a performance. I donâ€™t know how many times I can reiterate this enough, but if you want to actually see a performer wear her heart on her sleeve then see Fiona Apple. If you want to feel the same emotions that a performer feels, then see Fiona Apple. Her show is a guaranteed real, raw, genuine, and downright mesmerizing experience.