Sometimes I find myself wandering into a show without a clue. Last night was one of them. I agreed to cover Anna Meredith at the Parkway because I found myself with no plans on a Friday night and I had not been to the Parkway Theater. I make it a habit not to research artists I’m not familiar with before a show. I like to let their music make the first impression.
Within seconds of opener Holland Andrews’ set I was captured. A buzz, an operatic soprano, spoken word, synth layers all blended into a sound sculpture. But they did not allow us to sit back and drift off, their voice changed, forcing us back to pay attention to them. It was a beautiful set and the shutter of my camera (it’s very quiet) felt like it was interrupting. Their performance concluded with an outro bringing their performance full circle.
As the stage changed over, I noticed a Tuba. Wait, what? A Tuba? As the sound of “Sawbones” filled the Parkway, this was like no Tuba I had ever heard before. I am no stranger to brass on stage – Ska, Funk, Soul, Highasakite’s famous flugabone. But this? That sound was not there to support, this tuba drove the sound, built the base for complex layers. And I am a sucker for layered sound. First impressions matter, and this was a “Holy Crap” moment for me.
What Anna Meredith and her band do with their instruments is next level. For one song a single hit on a bass drum was stretched and reverbed to 2 seconds giving it and= almost synth sound. But none of it felt gimmicky. The effects were not self serving, they became part of the brilliant layers capturing us. Fans were pulled out of their seats and joined near the stage.
I went from clueless an apprciation for both artists in 2 heartbeats and 2 1/2 hours. This is one of my favorite perks of running this blog. The tour is headed to the East Coast – if they are coming your way, go see them. You will not be sorry.
Set List: Sawbones / Inhale-Exhale / Calion / Bump / Divining / Vapours / Moonmoons / Nautilus / Killjoy / Cruise / Something Helpful / Taken / (could not read the rest)