08 August 2007

Best Show of the Summer, . . .

very possibly the best show I've seen in NYC, maybe ever? Joan As Police Woman left me mesmerized and floaty after her phenomenal performance last night at Bowery Ballroom. The show also served to further confirm my opinion that Bowery is my favorite live music venue in NYC.

She has the grace, wit, charm and elegance that only someone of her, uh, nature can exude. She played almost her entire new album peppered with a few new songs in her near-hour-and-a-half set. The time slipped easily away, the only reminder being my twitching, near-buckling legs. The trio set-up (pno/gtr/vox, drums/vox, bs) was perfect, providing a perfect musical backdrop for her incredibly honest and brave presentation of her lyrics. Jason (?), the drummer is a capable instrumentalist but what made him shine were his incredible falsetto backing vocals. The bassist (I forget her name) effortlessly moved around the neck of her instrument, creating tasteful bass lines and counter melodies all night long. Joan's performance was of such a compelling nature that it elicited a small "cloudburst" of emotion from my companion and I remember her saying "It just feels so good to really feel something" and I can't imagine a better sentiment to sum up our experience there.

During her encore, she stopped a tune and shushed part of the audience. This could have come off as so annoying and self-absorbed, but from her it was exactly right. And she immediately followed it with a "Hi, sorry, I don't mean to be rude, because I like you, but yeah, you gotta shut up because I'm doing my thing up here" smile that immediately erased any discomfort that might have been hanging in the air back towards the "talkers"' direction. Brilliant. What a woman.

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