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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

January 17, 2007
Joanna Newsom
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, Calif. 12/18/06


One of the nicest musical experiences I had this past year was being transformed, after much resistance, into a Joanna Newsom fan. After all of the fantastic things said her newest record I figured I owed it to myself to approach her idiosyncratic material again with open ears. Had I not, I would have missed one of the loveliest live performances of 2006.

The first of three sold-out shows at the Great American Music Hall started with an overall air of good fortune, being the first show after several cancellations due to illness. The raucous, adoring audience was eager to claim their hometown status (OK, so the Sierra gold country hamlet Nevada City is her real hometown, but close enough) as Joanna Newsom took the stage with a small crew of musicians ready to tackle the ambitious project of transforming the entire 5 song, 4 side, densely orchestrated Ys into a live experience. Violin, guitar, acoordian, musical saw and varied percussion synched magically with Newsom's masterful harp playing, and as the songs unfolded it became clear that the expansiveness of her new songs was necessary to contain the scope and depth of the language used and stories woven, and that she was fully grown into and comfortable with the expressive power of her voice. The packed crowd remained rapt throughout, and there seemed to be a perfect consonance between the baroque interior of the music hall and the lush ornamentation of the music. The arrangements were so effective, I later found myself wishing I had a live recording when I listened to the album (is it bad to troll for bootlegs when you've already purchased the record?) For an encore, Newsom returned solo to play a few songs from Milk-Eyed Mender, and the audience mouthed along words they knew by heart. It was truly inspiring to see a woman presenting such fearlessly unique and challenging material (by current standards, popular and "indie" both) to so many fans so appreciative, and I feel privileged to have been there.

SEE ALSO: www.joannanewsom.co.uk/
SEE ALSO: www.dragcity.com

--
Marcy Saude
When she isn't writing post-Marxist critiques of video art or psychoanalytical interpretations of femininity in horror films, Marcy Saude finds spare moments for rock criticism.

See other articles by Marcy Saude.

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