08 November 2008

She & Him concert review

Hey all - here's a copy of my review of the recent She & Him show at the House of Blues. Once in awhile I'll contribute some musical thoughts to my friend's LA indie music scene blog Eight Track Hero. Whether she put this one up on the site is totally up to her but I thought I'd cut her at the pass anyway and post this one up here too! =)

She & Him with Lavender Diamond at the House of Blues, Anaheim, November 5, 2008

Could it be possible that there’s musical talent out there that proves to your eyes and ears that the live performance will completely blow the studio album out of the water?


Wednesday night’s She & Him show at the House of Blues in Anaheim proved just that. Lavender Diamond, a peace-loving, the world is magnificent band started off the night with their soul-capturing borderline country-esque melodies and their Harriet Wheeler meets Tracyanne Campbell vocals. Lead by Becky Stark, it’s simply hard to imagine that such a haunting, ethereal voice can come out of this lil’ lady. But it’s true! And I’ve quickly become a fan.

Accompanied by a pianist, drummer, bass and acoustic guitarists, and a backup vocalist, Stark portrays a Western atmosphere in her onstage presence and band’s musical composition, and surprisingly enough, her “accent.”

After a half hour set with Lavender Diamond, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward strode on stage, opening their set with “I Was Made for You.” Starting off the night with one of their stronger tracks off of their Volume One album, Deschanel, Ward and their accompanying band did not disappoint. Deschanel, who doubled on vocals and the piano, graced the audience with her sweet voice and humble stage presence. Throughout the night, she would banter with audience members, commenting, “I only hear what I want to hear. I have a filter,” after someone yelled out, “Zooey, I love you!”

And of course, she like most everyone else in California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington, was thrilled that Barack Obama was voted as president-elect for the next four years. “Change is one the way,” she exclaimed. “Not for the better,” yelled the handle-barred mustached guy standing behind me. “Yes for the better,” prompted Zooey, “because we love Barack Obama!”

Performing most of the songs off of Volume One and new material that may be included on their upcoming Volume Two album, in addition to a few cover tunes (e.g., Screamin’ Jay Hawks’ “I Put A Spell On You,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”), She & Him performed an excellent set infusing ‘50s inspired melodies coupled with the powerful guitar riffs of M. Ward. And even though this is my first time seeing M. Ward on stage, he proved to me that it’s 100% possible to add a hard-shredding edge of electric guitar on such a classic tune as “You Really Got a Hold on Me.”

Before their encore set, the band performed an impressive rendition of “Sweet Darlin’,” with a terrific run-on by the accompanying band; I personally felt like I was at a good ol’ fashioned ho-down at a local barn (in Downtown Disney)! All we needed was the sweet tea!

An interesting tidbit of the night: after the encore performance was over and the band started to walk off stage, an unidentified girl (who looked like she was about 17) jumped on stage and ran toward Deschanel and made it look like she wanted to either get a hug from her or jump her for a lock of her hair. Deschanel in turned gave her a look of, “Who the hell are you???” Security then came out and got in the way between the fan and Deschanel. Since I was in earshot of the girl, I heard her (or one of her friends) exclaim, “Who the **** does she think she is?” Whether it was directed to the fan or Deschanel, I wouldn’t know.

Aside from the possible paparazzi-inspired scene of the night, She & Him, along with Lavender Diamond, put up an amazing performance that didn’t leave one person standing still or a dry eye in the house. Five out of five stars.

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