On October 4 the_ogre and I saw Nellie McKay at The Independent. This was the fourth time I'd seen her in concert, and the third at that venue. Her attitude was definitely subdued compared to previous shows, at least in the beginning. Introducing "Work Song", for example, she said that it would be a sing-a-long, as usual, but just assumed the audience knew that and said "it's in Mandarin, you'll sing to it, blah blah."
She climbed onto the stage wearing a flapper dress and toting a double-armload of sheet music, which she plopped onto the piano, and then proceeded into an act that featured nearly as many standards as original material. All were sung and played well. She also took out an electric mandolin for a couple of numbers, including "Don't Fence Me In". Her antics to her new song "Zombie", which she sang accompanied by a recorded track, had Aaron convinced that she was insane - but in a good way.
Before the encore, several people shouted out what they wanted to hear; "Sari", not one of my favorites, and the cute "Dog Song", seemed the most mentioned. But I requested the short and lovely "Suitcase Song", and it surprised me that was one that she actually performed. I'm not sure if she was planning to do it anyway though.
After the show I waited around for her to come out for autographs, as I wanted to pick up a copy of her new CD. When it was my turn in line, I asked if she, as a fellow vegetarian, knew about Herbivore, the vegan restaurant just a block down the street. She didn't, surprisingly, and wrote it down. She said she had gone to some other veggie restaurants in the city, but they "had all these vegetables, and we like meat". (Meaning fake meat, obviously...) I said that Herbivore would be just her style then.
The opening act was also quite good; unfortunately, I don't remember his name and it is no longer on the Independent's web site... he played guitar very skillfully, and sang in both English and Portuguese. He also did some looping; Aaron noted that a lot of guitar performances seem to include looping nowadays, which I had also noticed.