Saturday, May 24, 2008

Geek rock: Laura Veirs at the Bowery Ballroom

I just can't seem to escape the geek connection lately. Ever since I started wearing glasses, my world view seems to have shifted somewhat (and not just because distant buildings/trees/signs are uncomfortably sharp now).

I think I admire Laura all the more for her ever-present specs. In fact, it was a picture of her in said specs on the cover of Year of Meteors which first attracted my attention at the Highgate library. Unlike 95% of young female artist cover shots, it was not sexy, not overly styled, and she was not smiling, just gazing straight out, a strange combination of reserved and defiant - serious but with a trace of a mocking smile. I took it home and what sealed the deal for me was 1. the sound, original, pure, captivating and slightly melancholy (if I had to categorise it, I would say indie folk) and 2. the lyrical themes of night skies, literature, swimming, mermen, caves and mountains.

Alone on stage at the lovely Bowery Ballroom, just one girl with her guitar and reverb pedal, Ms. Veirs did not disappoint. The most surprising thing was her strong and sure presence on the stage. She did say towards the end of the night that she was feeling especially relaxed and happy; like she was doing a lap of luck-xury, which she went on to explain was what she and her tour-mate did every time they got a hotel with a pool, to bring luck for the evening's performance.

She played a good selection of recent and older songs (I only know the stuff from her last two albums), as well as a couple of covers and an ode to Obama that sounded so heavenly, she almost changed my mind.

Oh-bah-mah-a-ah, Oh-bah-mah-a-ah, isn't he handsome? Isn't he smart?

A few people in the crowd felt compelled to call out Hilary's name afterwards. There is such a blatant popularity contest going on over here, but Obama seems to be winning in the public profile category.

For the encore, Laura came out with her support act in tow, Liam Finn (who was a tad disappointing with his self-indulgent racket-making), and they joined forces for a rousing version of Galaxies. With Liam restrained from his earlier freak-out and restricted to back up vocals and drums, it was a heavenly way to end a night which made me feel smug to have discovered such a cool artist whose sensibilities are so in tune with my own.


andrea said...

welcome 2 the 4-eyes club kel. xoxo ab

Anna said...

You've introduced so much new music to me since I started reading your blog - thanks!

melbourne dreaming said...

Thanks girls - just sharin' the love!

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