16 November 2006

Live: Amy Millan @ Paradise

Went to the Amy Millan show at Paradise last night--man was it undersold. One of the consequences of living in the blogosphere is that I have no idea what the average music listener knows about. Stars is pretty big, so Amy'll probably get a lot of that, right? Not s'much--Paradise was maybe a quarter full. Which is too bad, because she's sharp.

Eric Bachmann opened, and I gotta say I was not impressed. Irritatingly unexceptional is the best I can say--a skillful guitar, but immature vocals notable more for their odd, jarring flourishes than anything else. There was a startlingly clear recorder-like tone that I'm surprised any human can make unedited, but there was also a very out-of-place bluegrass nasal vibrato at the end of some phrases, which contrasted pretty unpleasantly with the overall vocal style. Most of his songs slipped by without making much of an impression; the only one that caught my attention was a Crooked Fingers track A New Drink for an Old Drunk, which had more energy than most.

And then Amy came on, and it was all better. She's playing with a band she called Tumbleweed, on which I can find precisely nothing; a country-bluegrass sorta deal with a bass, mandolin, banjo, plus among other things, a trombone and a saw. They only really got to rock on Headsfull, but that song was tight and joyous--you could see the band having fun.

Amy is still an odd bird (her stiff gestures remind me of a few friends, and they're all odd birds too), but her voice has a ribbony charm that's more than enough to satisfy me. The country material on Honey from the Tombs is a departure from Stars-style power pop, but the whiskey-drenched lyrics suit her; she also did a cover of Death Cab's "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" that was well-chosen and well-done.

Live mp3s of her solo are few and far between, but a live set she did at MPR is streamable here.

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1 comment:

jennings said...

Sorry I missed the show . . . .