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Showing posts from March, 2005

Keren Ann & A Girl Called Eddy, World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, 3/11/05

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Keren Ann It was a kind of unusual experience to not only see two events at the same venue the same day, but to be so unfamiliar with the artists, that when Keren Ann came out to open the show with no introduction, I wasn't sure whether it was her or A Girl Called Eddy. Although I knew of both artists by reputation and I'd heard a good sampling of Keren Ann's French language material courtesy of Jenn's iPod, I'd not heard either of their latest albums at all. I'd hoped to check out A Girl Called Eddy's latest during the week before the show, but Jenn's iPod files wouldn't play on my computer, thanks to iTunes' digital rights management, but that's an issue for another day. In any case, it was kind of a treat to experience new music, hearing it essentially for the first time live. Both sets were highly enjoyable, however I think I prefer Keren Ann's more atmospheric French work to the more singer-songwriterly tunes she sang in English.

Ivy, WXPN Free at Noon Concert, World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, 3/11/05

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Dominique Durand This Free at Noon booking was somewhat of a rare treat and not the least because Ivy hardly ever dents the WXPN playlist. Ivy is an occasional project of the husband and wife team of Andy Chase and Dominique Durand together with Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne. They were here this day to promote their new record, In the Clear. Although the music is entirely different from Schlesinger's other band, the songwriting and instrumental skills are at an equally high level and the success of Welcome Interstate Managers has likely brought some new curious listeners to Ivy's tent. Adam Schlesinger Having never seen Ivy before and having never heard the new album prior to the show, although the music and performance sounded fine, I was left with the impression that the band seemed kind of disinterested. Possibly because of the time of day or for other reasons that shall remain unknown, it seemed that they were somewhat going through the motions without much

Ivy - In the Clear (Nettwerk, 2005)

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In the Clear is one of the best new albums released so far this year. It combines atmospheric and soothing instrumentation with great songwriting and a pop sensibility characterized by Dominique Durand's vocals which can occasionally seem like a cross between Abba and Swing Out Sister. (more to come)

Average White Band & Tower of Power - Keswick Theater, Glenside, PA, 3/5/05

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AWB For fans of either of these two fine bands or of soul and funk music in general, it doesn't get any better than this annual pairing of AWB and Tower of Power at the Keswick Theater . This year's concert was scheduled about a month earlier than usual (in 2006 it goes back to early April) and while the scheduling seems like a minor detail, the difference between winter and spring at this time of year seemed huge at the time. Both bands were in peak form, turning in sets that gave pure joy to the packed house on this the second of a two night stand. Here's my next morning post to the AWB discussion board . It was another great show Saturday night at the Keswick. Both AWB and Tower of Power sounded as good as I've ever heard them, and AWB's song selection was absolutely perfect for the opening set length. The only thing missing from the set was anything from Living in Colour . The new jazzy version of "Work to Do" was neat, although the folks who comp

Vance Gilbert - The Point, Bryn Mawr, 3/3/05

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Vance Gilbert is one of a number of artists I had the pleasure of hearing for the first time at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 1999. Gilbert quickly disarms the audience with an easygoing, slightly self-deprecating but always friendly and intelligent sense of humor; his music isn't bad either. Fast forward to Falcon Ridge 2004 and Gilbert seemed like an old favorite, especially entertaining in his Performance Skills Critique Workshop . So I was somewhat dismayed to learn, talking to him between sets at the Point, that he was not booked to play Falcon Ridge this year. Gilbert's long form concert performance was more musically rewarding than the samplings you get at a festival; even his forty-five minute main stage set at Falcon Ridge only hinted at how good his own concert might be. Gilbert played a good number of tunes from his latest album Unfamiliar Moon as well as a sampling of his five previous releases. He seemed to really enjoy the Point, and he seemed especially