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   Sunday, October 06, 2002  
'There is no denying that [she] has one of the most distinctive, hauntingly beautiful voices most of us will ever hear, but even that can't hide the fact that we could just as easily be listening to the album at home, since the band creates absolutely no atmosphere or chemistry' - dotmusic on the apparently underwhelming experience of Hope Sandoval live in London. It's not unreasonable to hope that an act might take their recorded sound further in concert, of course, but reallyrather travelled across town last Tuesday night merely in the hope that Nina Nastasia could get anywhere close to replicating the vibe that haunts her latest album The blackened air. (These two artists aren't actually too far apart in the great scheme of things, inhabiting the various interconnecting 'folk-pop' branches of the Tree of Rock. But where Sandoval might be the elusive, vaguely exotic creature stalking the lusher reaches, Nastasia would be more starkly visible, silhouetted up on a lightening-charred bough.) Happily, this blog can report that she pretty much pulled it off. The venue can make a difference, of course; 'atmosphere' is rather easier to generate in the relatively intimate confines of The Spitz than traditional fixed-seat auditorium of the Bloomsbury Threatre (ample leg room or no ample leg room). Resembling perhaps an off-duty nun, Ms Nastasia and her 4-piece band took the stage before a coolly reverent crowd, her (mostly) acoustic guitar supported by cello, accordian, viola and fizzling electric guitar. Between them this ensemble conjured up the creaky, wheezing rhythms captured by on disc by Steve Albini, Nastasia's low-key but assertive voice and guitar easily holding the attentions of a packed room. At one point, as the cellist plucked an intro, the hush was particularly conspicuous, a respect unfortunately all too rare in stand-up rock venues of this sort. Most of The blackened air's highlights were featured (ie pretty much the whole album), the band encoring with In the graveyard and the lovely Little angel. Presuming most of the other songs were taken from Dogs, her hard-to-find debut, reallyrather has already pre-spent this Christmas' anticipated record token - Dogs gets re-released here in January...

..Spoon will play the same venue on Nov 29 ... bit of a collector's item at the Golden Lion, Camden this Sunday where Canada's Hayden is scheduled for a free showcase ... Saddle Creek offer up a couple of rather promising sample tracks from Rilo Kiley's upcoming The execution of all things ... and Jackpot have had all their gear stolen in Austin: “A lot of the stuff had sentimental value, guitars and amps that we’d had since we were teenagers, our first instruments we’d bought that weren’t Christmas presents. It sucks, but we have a record that just came out, and we have to tour.”
   posted by SMc at 11:12 AM |