Thursday, May 27, 2010

Holly Miranda @Bowery Ballroom, May 26th

Thanks to a drawing by Other Music, Shana and I were able to check out the lovely Holly Miranda for her headlining gig at The Bowery Ballroom. The only other time I had seen her perform was last Fall at the Brooklyn Vegan CMJ Day Show at Pianos, where she appeared with only a guitar and the guitarist from her band. This time, we were given the full band treatment, supplemented by a bass, drums, and for most songs, a saxophone and trumpet. With New York being her home turf, she invited a number of guests on the stage, including Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio to join her.

(More words and pics including a setlist, and a video after the jump.)

Unlike the last time I saw her, this time I had heard her excellent album, The Magician's Private Library, and had expectations. Her live performance manages to sound different from the haunting recorded versions yet is still quite amazing. It grabbed me much like the time Shana and I saw Bon Iver, even similarly ending with a group ensemble chorus for "Pelican Rapids." The setlist (see below) also included a Yoko Ono cover and a stirring Etta James cover which demonstrated her soulfulness, reminding me of a less pissy Fiona Apple.

I am looking forward to her gig this summer opening up for Metric at Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell on August 5th.


Shana said...

I noticed that you mentioned neither opening act. Was this a case of "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say nothing at all"?

And I'd like to add my two cents on Holly Miranda. Her voice was stunning. She had range and emotional depth. She reminded me of Cat Power at her full powers but less spacey and way more focused. I also had a clear sense that she and her band mates loved what they were doing, loved music and making it together. With Class Actress, one of openers, I felt like she wanted to be adored, and making music was her way of getting that adoration. Holly Miranda and Co., though, wanted to make music because they adored it. I don't think that can ever be overrated.

Qbertplaya said...

@nerdy girl: The first band was technically competent, I guess. But rather disjointed, and reminded me of lesser Sonic Youth in some ways. The second -- Class Action -- I will never get the appeal. Godawful.

I didn't feel compelled enough by either band to make mention. Holly Miranda was really the only reason to go to the Bowery Ballroom that night and to post this entry.