Friday, February 1, 2008

we saw: Joanna Newsome

"The Meteorite is the Source of the Light"

It took a while, but we finally got to see Joanna Newsome with an orchestra. And not just any orchestra, but The Brooklyn Philharmonic. Needless to say, we were anything but let down.

The show was divided into two sets. First came the formal set with Joanna, and band, accompanied by the 29 piece orchestra, playing Ys in its entirety. The opener "Emily", one of my favorite Newsome tracks, was an incredible way to kick start the evening and immediately silenced the sold out capacity crowd at BAM's Henry Gilman Opera House. By the time she got to "Monkey & Bear" I was in total ecstasy, eyes closed, feet tapping, mouth silently singing along ("My bride/ Here is my hand, where is your paw?/ Try and understand my plan, Ursala/ My heart is a furnace/ Full of love that's just, and earnest"). To sum it up, her set with the Brooklyn Philharmonic was the absolute cat's meow of indie-rock cross pollination with high culture. Something I will take with me the rest of my life and be thankful I had the opportunity to watch such wonder unfold before my eyes. Not to mention, she looked damn good in that black evening gown.

After a short intermission, Joanna, now clad in a pink velvet cocktail dress, returned with her band for a set of classics and newcomers, many of which played on her increasingly celtic sound, a term I never would have used to describe her music in the past that, for some reason, seemed to click last night. Maybe it was Gaelic drum or the intricate fluttering of the harp, but something really made me want to drunkenly dance a jig during "Colleen", arguably the highlight of the second set. Whatever it was, it was special and her encore cover of Karen Dalton's "Same Old Man" and it's New York shout out, was exactly the right way for her to end night one at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Set 1
Monkey & Bear
Sawdust & Diamonds
Only Skin

Set 2
Bridges and balloons
Book of right on
Inflamatory Writ
Barbara (temp title)
En gallop
Clam Crab Cockle Cowrie
New song "Kindess prevails"

Same old man

If you have any doubt as to the wonder of Joanna Newsome, check out the video below from the Jools Holland Show. It should convert all non-believers.

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