REVIEW: Sarah Kirkland-Snider’s PENELOPE featuring Shara Worden & FearNoMusic @ Alberta Rose (Portland, OR – 2/2/13)
Ever the Shara Worden / My Brightest Diamond fanboy, I got PENELOPE – the collaboration with composer Sarah Kirkland-Snider – back when it came out in 2010.
I loved the record then… dark, light, moving, haunting, gorgeous emotions not only from Shara’s voice but also from the musical compositions. Penelope is a song cycle / concept album, inspired by a journey and coming home a la Homer’s Odyssey. Read more about it here.
Never did I think I’d have a chance to see it performed live. I mean, I’ve seen My Brightest Diamond plenty of times, but I always thought of Penelope as a one-off – solely an album collaboration. A very good album collaboration, but an album collaboration nonetheless.
I only found out about the one-night only show with Portland’s FearNoMusic chamber ensemble about two weeks ago, but I bought I ticket without consulting my calendar. Luckily nothing was on my calendar… but honestly, if something had been, I would have had to change my plans anyway.
The show was as gorgeous as the record,if not more. Quite moving and amazing to hear in the room: the strings, the horns, the woodwinds, the powerful voice. There is a lot of pain in the words, but also a hope in starting over… blown over by the wind, turned over by the tide. At least that’s what I take out of it. It left me with hope.
- The Stranger with the Face of a Man I Loved
- This Is What You’re Like
- The Honeyed Fruit
- The Lotus Eaters [music video]
- Circe and the Hanged Man
- I Died of Waiting
- Dead Friend
- And Then You Shall Be Lost Indeed
- Open Hands
- Baby Teeth, Bones, and Bullets
- As He Looks Out to Sea
- Encore: Be Brave
Shara Worden’s stunning vocal delivery was joined by FearNoMusic conducted by Katherine FitzGibbon with Inés Voglar, violin; Joël Belgique, viola; Nancy Ives, cello; Alicia Paulsen, flute; Mark Dubac, clarinet; Leander Star, French horn; Jeffrey Work, trumpet; Dan Balmer, guitar; and Sergio Carreño, drum set and percussion.
Shara kicked off her heels (literally) for the encore MBD song. I’m glad that Shara played at least one tune from her own catalog… but honestly, it wasn’t needed. Penelope worked on so many great levels in a live setting.
There are a few more Penelope dates scheduled… Minnesota, Indiana, and New York so far. Check out Sarah Kirkland-Snider’s events page.
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Website / Twitter
- My Brightest Diamond’s Website
- FearNoMusic’s Website / Twitter / Facebook
- MBD’s record label: Asthmatic Kitty
- MBD music video compendium (non-exhaustive, but pretty chock full)
- My Brightest Diamond’s Social Media Links (see below)
- My Other Related Reviews & Links~
- Alberta Rose Theatre’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
And, I promise, I’ll get my gosh-darn “Best Of 2012” list posted soon… I’m horrible this time. The next show for me is Ben Folds Five @ Roseland (Portland) on 2/5.
I feel so bad for not blogging as much this past month or so… busy at work and in real life. I have still gone to quite a bit of shows, especially in October – Aimee Mann, Nellie McKay twice, Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst three times, and Dan Deacon, I snapped a few iPhone shots (sorry for lower quality). I tracked most of the setlists, too. So, here’s a quick run-down.
Aimee Mann @ the Aladdin Theater, Portland, Oregon (Tu 10/2)
Aimee Mann put on a great show, a good mix of old tunes and ones from her brand new album, Charmer. Here’s what she played – 10/2 setlist. This was my second time seeing her, and I was not disappointed. She’s charming, smiles much more than her songs lead on, and is quite the jokester.
Nellie McKay @ the Shedd, Eugene, Oregon (Wed 10/10)
Nellie McKay @ the Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/11)
Two shows, back-to-back seems to be a habit for me when Nellie McKay swings through Oregon. The shows were fairly similar (Eugene setlist / Portland setlist) save for a few changes in songs. Both shows were great. She seemed for relaxed and vocally on-point in Eugene. In Portland, she had a few lyrical miss-steps, but she was as charming as ever. Any time she comes through, I’m excited to see her. No news on another album, yet (her last was 2010’s Home Sweet Mobile Home).
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ the Majestic Theatre, Corvallis, Oregon (Wed 10/17)
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ the Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/18)
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ Tsunami Books, Eugene, Oregon (Fri 10/19)
Three shows, not one the same. Another artist I see every time he comes through, Peter Mulvey, brought his long-time musical friend Kris Delmhorst (wife of another singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault). The three of them are in a band Redbird with guitarist David Goodrich. Well, this Fall 2012 west coast jaunt was just Peter & Kris, doing a switch-off storyteller-type show. All of the shows were two sets, split with a short intermission. Peter changed up his set fairly well, and Kris mixed hers up some as well (Corvallis setlist / Portland setlist / Eugene setlist). I only had a few of her albums before this tour, but at the final show, I had to rectify that and pick up the rest of the catalog. It seemed based on their new material and various discussions that they were both working on new albums… for 2013?
Dan Deacon @ Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/25)
The openers were also odd (TEDtalk-styled humor from Alan Resnick), bombastic (two-piece rock powerhouse Chester Endersby), and truly enlightening (rock/rap from Height with Friends). For Dan Deacon‘s set, he played a lot from his latest album, America. This show was intense and amazing. He has an amazing way of getting people to step out of their shells. At one point, Dan was going to have us do a arm tunnel outside the venue (something he does at most of his shows). The bouncer and club management wouldn’t let him… so he complied and said,” we’ll just do something far more dangerous.” With a wide circle, he started with one guy running around, and with every revolution, he would bring one more person in to run around… 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, … after a very short time the entire audience was running in a circle… I had to pull myself out of it and grab some water… It was a very sweaty, dancey, fun-as-hell show. Truly inspiring how the seeming group of outcasts becomes a group of like-minded lovers of life.
I’ll try to do a better job of consistent concert reviews going forward, time permitting. A couple shows for me this week: The Dead Kenny G’s (Skerik, Matt Dillon etc) on 11/15 @ Sam Bond’s Garage (Eugene) and Over the Rhine on 11/17 @ the Triple Door (Seattle).
FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM
I got to the venue just in the nick of time as Jonathan Kingham was starting his opening set. I had seen him about four years ago in Eugene with Glen Phillips. I thought he was great last time, and he held up to that memory quite well on Thursday night. I think he’s matured a little bit in his songwriting, and still quite the charmer on-stage. Funny, witty, smooth voice, and slow jams. He played some new tunes, some tunes about food, a tune called “Satisfied” (about a poodle?), a cover of Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” with an impressive improv rap, and ended the 45 minute set with “Grace” with Glen on backing vocals.
After a short break, Glen Phillips came out and dug right in. He played the first handful of tunes unaccompanied, then Jonathan joined him on guitar and backing vocals for the classic Toad song “Walk On the Ocean.” Jonathan stayed with him for the rest of the set, switching to piano partway through.
The things that draws me in to Glen are his voice and his poetic lyricism. Whether it be with his solo stuff, his side-projects, or with his first band Toad – his humor, wit and joy for life shines through. He played a great mix of songs throughout his career and even treated us to a couple brand new songs. No word on if these new songs will show up on an upcoming solo album, collaboration album, or the rumored upcoming Toad the Wet Sprocket album.
Setlist: ~90 mins
- The Next Day
- Crowing [Toad the Wet Sprocket]
- End This Now
- Return to Me
- Blood Pressurize [RemoteTreeChildren]
- Walk on the Ocean* [Toad]
- The One Who Got Away
- Always Have My Love
- Whatever I Fear [Toad]
- Finally Fading
- Windmills [Toad]
- Golden Age [new song]
- Solar Flare
- Fred Meyers
- All I Want [Toad]
- Rise Up
- Encore: Rare Bird (new song)
- Brothers on a Hotel Bed [Death Cab for Cutie]
*J. Kingham guest on guitar for “Walk On the Ocean” through
“Whatever I Fear” & on piano from “True” through “Rise Up.”
A great show from two fantastic, silken-voiced singer-songwriters.
GLEN PHILLIPS PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution
(click for larger)
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Glen Phillips’ Site
- Glen Phillips’ Social Media Links (see below)
- Jonathan Kingham’s Site
- Jonathan Kingham’s Facebook / MySpace / Twitter
- My Other Related Reviews~
- Alberta Rose Theatre’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
Next show for me… Dan Deacon at the University of Oregon on 4/17.
Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! show in Eugene on Friday was brilliant! Portland is tonight. Here’s a small taste from Eugene…
More photos, reviews and setlists for both Oregon shows will be up by Tuesday early morning.
Nellie McKay plays the Shedd in Eugene on Friday, March 2nd and the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland on Sunday, March 4th. Tickets are still available for both Oregon shows… so, get on it. You won’t be disappointed! I’ll have a review with setlists and photos of both shows posted early next week (likely by Tuesday).
I Want to Live! a musical death row revue, conjures the life story of “a woman of dubious moral standards often a guest in seedy bars.”
New York Times’ Stephen Holden writes, “Inspired by the 1958 movie of the same name, I Want to Live! combines Nellie McKay’s virtually unlimited gifts as a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, ukulele player, mimic, satirist and comedian into a show that is much deeper than its surface might suggest. In the most lighthearted way they evoke a heartless environment of social injustice in which people who fall through the cracks are invisible to everyone else.”
“Pretty darned unique,” adds Michael Musto of the Village Voice.
“The McKay voice is a knife edged with honey. Which is good, because the words she writes are razor sharp beneath a homespun mantle.” – Tony Gieske
It’s a rare treat to have Nellie in our neck of the woods; so I’ll be at both the Eugene and Portland shows. :)
Last night’s Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin show at the Alberta Rose Theatre as part of the 2011 Portland Jazz Festival last night was amazing… due to work and other commitments, I won’t be able to edit and post the photos until probably Monday or Tuesday. UPDATE: the review is live now, sorry about the delay.
(more coming soon)
Check back sometime next week!