Archive for the 'Your Heart Breaks' Category

Gig Review: Laura Veirs at Manchester Night & Day, February 5, 2008

Contrary to popular opinion amongst my friends (and perhaps anyone who’s read my gushing endorsements of The Decemberists), I bought my first Laura Veirs album, her current one, Saltbreakers, not because she duetted with the lovely Colin Meloy, but rather because a friend whose taste in music I trust said it was a fantastic album. It is. While I had previously avoided her studiously as I thought she might be another one of those boring, faux-quirky female acoustic singers with whom we have been assaulted over the last 18 months, much to my chagrin; it turns out she writes lovely songs that mention water somewhat regularly and that she has a very pleasant, soothing and friendly voice.

So, we took ouselves down to the Night & Day expecting a pleasant evening – which is pretty much what we got.

The opening act was Clyde, a singer-songwriter from Seattle who sings in a band called Your Heart Breaks. I listened to a couple of their songs on MySpace prior to heading down to the gig and they were warm, quirky, lo-fi numbers that reminded me of the Moldy Peaches in tone, if not in content. Funnily enough, Clyde mentioned being friends with Kimya Dawson, formerly of the Moldy Peaches. In person she was warm, funny and very self-deprecating and if lyrically some of her songs were a bit lacking, she made up for it with enthusiasm and some very entertaining storytelling. I was smiling when she left the stage and feel like I really should go back to the Your Heart Breaks MySpace page and download a few tracks.

We were expecting Laura Veirs to be touring with a full band, as Saltbreakers has a lot of instrumentation on it, but it seems we missed that jaunt a few months back and this time she was on her own, because, she told us, she likes to see how the songs stand up alone occasionally. They sounded lovely, in fact. Despite some problems with her monitors, she put in a faultless performance that even saw a couple of songs on the banjo and some old folk covers as well as a set covering not only her most recent album, but all the ones before it that neither I nor the The Ledge have heard. That is, all her albums except the first one which she reckons is a bit crap as she was still learning her trade at the time. The audience were entranced by her, with a gaggle of young women at the front of the stage singing every word along with her.

The only problem, really (apart from someone standing nearby who really needed a stick of deoderant and the omission of “Drink Deep” from the set), was that not knowing most of the songs meant I couldn’t fix on the lyrics very easily and so the overwhelming experience was her voice, which doesn’t really change much from song to song (not that it would without effects which would kind of defeat the purpose of an acoustic performance), and the melodies which started to blend together without the help of a range of instruments to give the songs musical depth and variety. I don’t think this was an issue of songwriting but rather my lack of familiarity with the songs. A full band would have kept my attention better and given me more to hear and see.

On the whole, however, Laura Veirs put in a great performance and is clearly a songwriter whose back catalogue is well worth exploring further.

Laura Veirs – Nightingale

Laura Veirs – Drink Deep

Posted by JustHipper on 10th February 2008 at 8:44 pm | comments (2)
File under female singers,Gig Reviews,gigs,Laura Veirs,mp3,night & day,Reviews,Your Heart Breaks.