In studio photos courtesy WYEP
Feist Thursday September 13, 2007 WYEP Studios Pittsburgh, PA
So Sorry/'Interview'/One Two Three Four/The Park/'Interview'
I picked up Feist's The Reminder when Best Buy had it on sale for cha-cha-CHEAP and eventually grew to like it. She was coming through town for a show sponsored by WYEP-FM, which always means a way-jacked up ticket price to support their less than stellar yawn rock. I was on the fence about going to the show proper, Rogue Wave opening almost pushed me there, but they announced this in-studio appearance and that was cool enough for me. I had the day off anyway thanks to my Jewish brethren so, L'Chayim!
Here's a review from someone who did go that night:
Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist performed at Carnegie Music Hall last Thursday as part of a four-city tour to promote her sophomore album, The Reminder. Feist, who got her start in the band Broken Social Scene, released her first solo album in 2004, and gained notoriety with the single “Mushaboom,” featured in Lacoste perfume commercials.
Released in May 2007, The Reminder follows in the footsteps of the first release with eclectic, bluesy songs written by the singer. The track list contains upbeat pop numbers like, “I Feel It All” and “1234” (currently in ads for the new iPod nano), as well as more jazz-influenced songs such as “My Moon My Man” and “Brandy Alexander.” Guest producers from Canada, France, and Germany give many of the songs a different sound, yet all of the material is unified by Feist’s ethereal voice, the focal point of every song.
Feist’s live performance on Thursday was no exception. Entranced by Feist’s lyrics and voice, the audience members often fell silent, and Feist even asked them to get up and cheer at one point. Challenging Carnegie Music Hall’s formal environment, she encouraged her audience to pretend “you are at your favorite sticky-floored night club in Pittsburgh.”
Feist asked the audience to participate several other times during her performance. She divided the audience into three parts, assigning each the note of a chord, in addition to letting the audience sing the backup for her well-known songs.
Although she is most known for her voice, Feist surprised those of us unfamiliar with her other talents — she ripped on the guitar and accompanied herself on piano for two of her songs. Vocally, Feist kept her listeners on the edge of their seats with her jazz improvisation and her well-known descending octave trill “oh-oh-oh-oh” (for example, before the choruses in “I Feel It All”) that she slipped in almost every one of her songs.
Aside from her talent, the most pleasant part of the evening was Feist’s warm personality and her ability to converse with the audience. This was a nice contrast to the lead singer of the opening band, Rogue Wave, who was barely audible as he mumbled between songs. Feist was complimentary of her fans, Pittsburgh, and even the venue. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” she joked about the venue, “You practice. Well, it looks like we practiced!” To a fan who screamed out to Feist that she should wake up a man who’d fallen asleep in the first row, Feist responded, “It’s alright. He can sleep — I sing lullabies. We can get him a pillow backstage if he’d like.”
Maybe it was the comfy seats of Carnegie Music Hall; the high, detailed ceilings; even the old organ pipes that served as a backdrop for the performance, but watching Feist perform was like going to a classical performance. Many of the songs were backed by instruments unusual to pop performances, like the trumpet and French horn. Feist also looped her own voice to create what sounded like a choir of Feists. But whether one or many, Feist put on a concert both enthralling and inspiring
Photo courtesy Alan Gerber
All you need to know about Feist's performance at the Carnegie Music Hall on Thursday is that despite an announcement about an upcoming Decemberists show, made minutes before she came on stage, Feist's concert was not overshadowed.
Feist and her four-man backup band gave the crowd their money's worth and then some, running through a 20-song set list that spanned almost two hours and drew from her own material and that of her friends and fellow artists.
The word of the night was versatility. At times, Feist rocked harder than anyone had a right to expect. At other moments, her hushed acoustic songs brought the intimate hall to pin-drop quiet. During one extended sequence of covers, someone in the front row was even put to sleep. Feist was not put off by this: "I sing lullabies, I don't care," she shrugged.
While the obscure songs were out in full force, there were also plenty of cuts from this year's outstanding breakthrough album, The Reminder, with 10 of its 13 tracks making their way to the set list.
These songs ranged from the driving, up-tempo pop of "I Feel It All" to the uncomfortably fragile "The Water," featuring Feist on piano. "I Feel It All" brought a loud cheer when she changed the lyrics "Now I know I want to win the war" to "Now I know I want to stop the war," despite the likelihood that a sizeable portion of the anti-war contingent was camped out on Forbes Avenue a few blocks away.
Another highlight was the stomping, piano-driven rocker "My Moon My Man," which made excellent use of the backyard canopy light display. The song's sneaky, unsettling electronic flourishes made an excellent transition to the stage, which was surprising given the volume of the main instruments.
Feist was suitably impressed by the venue. "We did it guys. We made it to Carnegie Hall!" she exclaimed early on. Later, before busting out a song from her 2004 album Let It Die, she said, "This is an oldie, but it's kind of new because we stopped playing it for a while. We re-corked it. I'm trying to be classy in this place - with wine references."
She was in similarly good spirits for the duration of the night, which made the show feel more like an open-mic night than a performance from an artist on Interscope Records. Crowd participation was encouraged on a few occasions, and requests were taken, if not necessarily acted upon.
The regular set closed with a trio of fan favorites: "Gatekeeper," "Mushaboom" and the recently ubiquitous "1 2 3 4." Currently making the rounds on iPod commercials, the song lost absolutely nothing in its live translation, with the crowd playing the part of the choir. The only downside was that everyone knew it was coming when one of the band members reached for his banjo.
The three-song encore was also all highlights, particularly the rollicking Nina Simone cover, "Sea Lion," which contained dueling guitar solos.
On a recent performance of "1 2 3
4" on Letterman, Feist assembled a choir of nearly every notable artist
from Canada, as well as some from the U.S. Clearly, she's highly regarded in the
music community, and on Thursday night, it was pretty clear why.
First blog post, whoa! I know I have a lot to live up to, so I’m going to try to keep this brief, hilarious, informative, amazing, and awesome.
Um, welcome to Pittsburgh?
I went to go see Feist and Rogue Wave last night at the Carneige Music Hall in Oakland, right on the CMU campus and apparently attached to the place where they keep many of Pittsburgh’s scariest dinosaurs. I really like Rogue Wave, and I really could not care less about Feist. This is the second time I’ve been forced to buy an e-spensive ticket to see her, because she happens to pick some pretty stellar openers in some pretty posh venues (Grizzly Bear opened for her sometime this summer at the Vic Theater in Chicago). Here are some things that I have come to expect from a Feist show:
1) So many GIRLS, with shiny brown hair and sundresses and uncomfortable-looking boyfriends.
2) Whistling and clapping. Like, BIRD whistling. And then Feist mimed taking care of her little songbirds. Yeah, I know.
3) Guitar toys and tricks. I may not care for Feist’s shtick, but she’s got some pretty cool looping and effects toys that I totally want to play with.
Oh, but all that aside, Feist has a fantastic voice, and some well-behaved fans, and she and I seem to at least be on the same page when it comes to cool openers, so I’m forced to grudgingly admit that sometimes it rocked, and when it didn’t, at least I had a nice balcony seat to curl up in and close my eyes.
Here she is…FEIST! OMG, SHE’S TOTALLY IN THAT iTUNES COMMERCIAL, I THINK!! I HEARD THAT ONE SONG IN STARBUCKS!! Etc. etc.
But the real reason I was there was Rogue Wave, who have been one of my favorites out of that whole dreamy indie-pop group. They played a good-if-short set that mixed up songs across their entire catalog, understandably a little heavy on the “Asleep at Heaven’s Gate” tracks. Rogue Wave is truly a soundtrack band, all rainy windows and melancholy introspection and dreamy Zach Rogue and his sexy voice. You may remember them as providing the emotional heft behind such fine moments in television as some interminable “I don’t know what is happening to my body” montage circa episode 3 or 4 of “Heroes,” or perhaps when bratty little Silas kept texting his deaf girlfriend baby name suggestions while she was in the middle of having an abortion on “Weeds.” Yes, it is just that kind of band. But it does a great job of it, no?
They actually didn’t lose too much in the notorious dome-of-sounds-like-they’re-playing-underwater that plagues so many mid-sized Pittsburgh venues, because they’re all old churches or steel factories or something. Despite sitting literally 20 feet away (and 10 feet up) from the stage on the 1st balcony, I could not understand a damn word of the between-song banter. It’s a good thing all their songs sound better played slightly underwater, right?
OK then! Overall, not a bad way to come back to the ‘burgh. It would’ve been nice to be in surroundings slightly less plush, but seeing as Pittsburgh’s venues force a selection between Garfield garage, South Side bar, and abandoned-church college campus, it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.
INSIDE PITTSBURGH JOKE: During her set, Feist asked the crowd to imagine they were in one of their favorite 150-person venues, a dark bar with sticky floors and a stage. “Where do you have that in Pittsburgh?” she asked. “Pegasus!” called out a guy from the balcony (that’s the seedy 18-and-over gay bar, btw). Hilarious! If you’re from Pittsburgh.
Well, that’s my first blog post. It was kind of exhausting. How do you people manage??
Feist autographed print
Feist (& Band) autographed flyer
from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thursday September 13, 2007
There are any number of ways that people may have encountered Feist. She is a member of the Canadian indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene, she's collaborated with electro-punker Peaches (her former roommate) and her music has been heard in Verizon and Apple commercials.
Then, of course, there are her solo records, starting with "Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down)" in 1999 and leading up to the recently released "The Reminder," which is on the shortlist for the Polaris Music Prize.
Feist is a fresh, quirky and also powerful voice on the indie scene, with a range from quiet lounge-pop to full-out rock.
She plays the Carnegie Music Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.50. Call 412-323-1919.
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