Maybe it’s cause I had never seen her with a full band before, but today’s set was so much more aggressive that it sounded like she sure must have picked up that gun that Elijah dropped and is out to hurt us all… no just kidding! Of course she was sweet and funny and talented as always, but the sonic impact of a full band makes her obviously sound more in-your-face and angry than she ever could (or would want to) in those intimate acoustic performances I have gotten to know her through.
This was some kind of private performance open to the public (an oxymoron in terms…) which I believe was very quickly whipped together as a showcase for some label person… basically if you were on her mailing list (which you should be! hint hint!) you got a 6 hour notice (she emailed at 11am) to be at the 5pm show at Rockwood Music Hall, which behind closed doors and closed curtains made the magic come alive almost as if it was nighttime (gotta tell you, it sure was shocking to walk out of there and see the sun!).
The show was short and sweet and one or two of my favorite songs didn’t make the set list but it was interesting to see her with a full band. A solid rhythm section I didn’t catch the names of was well balanced by Daniel Mintseris (on piano and Hammond keys) who delivered as always and jazzed up the two introductory piano/guitar-only pieces and by guitar player Brian Cassagnol, whose instrument was quite honestly a little overwhelmingly loud in the mix (but we are not gonna hold him responsible for that since from the stage he obviously didn’t know and since he also had some problems with his Big Muff pedal).
I could say I almost preferred her solo ’cause she has such a beautiful and rich voice and with a band in a place like that you invariably loose some of the nuances and characteristics that make her special and make her stand out… She wasn’t drowned out by the band’s volume or anything, but her voice just didn’t get to you in a way that it does when you can really hear every little element in it. But again that probably is just a matter of mixing the sound right in the club and maybe in a different situation you could still get the full picture…
Anyway, the album she recorded with Cassagnol in Boston is finished and will come out in October (you may pre-order your copy from her website now!). I heard three un-mastered versions on a sampler CD she handed me and, although I’d much rather hear a real string quartet (if not an orchestra) in place of the fake strings that the indie budget made them go for, the songs came together really well in their new full-band incarnation. I like the arrangement of the open, spacious and grand “Devil’s Got My Secret” in particular.
Looking forward to be able to listen to her full album and catch her live again soon (solo or not), especially considering that she is now officially a NYC adoptee, as of last week. Welcome to NYC Mieka!