Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

Nellie McKay concert

On Thursday, Gregor and I went to see Nellie McKay perform at Bimbo's in North Beach. This was my third time enjoying Nellie live - both previously at The Independent - and Gregor's second. (boyziggy was, as often the case, working that night.) She'd been in dispute with, and ultimately dropped from, her record label since last I saw her, and I didn't want to download a bootleg of her upcoming album, so I was looking forward to hearing her perform some tunes I hadn't yet heard.

Gregor got to be second in line on account of arriving an hour early, so we got a seat right up front. Unfortunately our view was partially obscured by the piano, but by the time we realized this a lot more people had filed in and I didn't want to move. I was surprised by the layout of the club, which I hadn't been to before; nearly the entire floor consisted of six-seat round tables draped with red tablecloths. So we had to share with some strangers, but fortunately they didn't block my view.

The opening act, Goh Nakamura, sang and played acoustic guitar. At least, he tried to; multiple sound problems, especially when he tried to loop his music, really marred his act. Which is too bad, because he did play really well and his songs were lyrically interesting. I had to chuckle thinking of what boyziggy's reaction would have been to the multiple instances of ear-splitting feedback, and the incident where Nakamura accidentally loosened the cord from his guitar, announced "Oh, I've done something really bad", and resorted to lowering the vocal mic boom to amplify the instrument for the next two songs. He even admitted at that point that he was doing more stand-up comedy than music.

Nellie finally appeared a bit after 9 p.m., wearing an off-shoulder black lace dress with a wide red belt, and toting a large bag full of goodies. She performed many favorites from her first album, and some new ones. She was reading from sheet music nearly the whole time, and numerous times forgot the lyrics to her own songs, prompting her to mumble "Shit" quite audibly, but it was more cute than annoying. She also did a hilarious extended Bob Dylan imitation for one of her new songs.

She then announced that she would be handing out prizes from the bag for audience members who answered her trivia questions. These were just little things like children's books which she signed before handing out. She ended up giving out most of them to people who happened to be sitting nearby, and more for things like loaning her a pen to sign the goodies than for actually answering any questions. Someone about halfway back griped that "I guess you have to sit near the piano to win,", prompting her to say no, she would give him the next prize, and then mumbled "asshole", to the delight of the audience.

Nellie worked vegetarianism and animal rights mentions into several points of her performance, which I greatly appreciated even if the audience didn't particularly respond. She performed at World Vegetarian Day on Saturday also, though I didn't attend. Nellie amusingly described herself as a "vegan who doesn't like vegetables", which I especially appreciated as I used to describe myself the same way (I've since broadened my palate significantly).

At one point, a particularly vocal woman sitting at the table next to ours requested a song, which Nellie said she didn't feel up to doing because she didn't want to sing one of the parts where she was imitating another singer (a la the Bob Dylan number). So the woman in the audience said that she could sing it herself. Nellie ended up inviting her up, and she sat next to her on the piano bench and they sang the song together. It was quite well done. The woman then shouted out for any bootleggers to contact her after the show, presumably so that she could show off her performance to get a gig of her own...

Nellie also sang to two recorded tracks, which was an unusual departure but worked well. It was also nice for me as when she was sitting at the piano I could normally only see her eyes, though I had a great view of her feet for whatever that's worth. (As a pianist myself, seeing when and how a performer uses the sustain pedal can be instructive I suppose.)

After the show I walked home, nearly a mile over a very steep hill, making me glad I'd only had one alcoholic drink. Living where I do is a great advantage when it comes to going to events like this.

All in all, an enjoyable evening. I look forward to the debut of Nellie's new album on Halloween. She is truly a gifted young woman.
Tags: concert

  • Pain management

    boyziggy made both of us little portable emergency kits containing various pills, bandages, and such. He mentioned recently that he lost…

  • Less sharing, more living

    I just spent way too much time reviewing the posts I've made on this blog and on the McDougall Program forums over the last seven years. I can't…

  • Year in review - 2012

    Not expecting anything Earth-shattering to happen in the next couple of days, so might as well write my annual year-end summary now. I'll follow the…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.