Wednesday, January 09, 2008
What's the frequency, concrete?
A fitting way to sum up the Concrete Frequency concert I saw last night at Disney Hall would be to paraphrase what one blonde-locked singer/songwriter said on-stage during her between-song patter: Just when you're about to give up on Los Angeles, it has a way of showing you something beautiful.
I'd never been inside Disney Hall before, so that in itself was a treat. A spectacular silver sculpture on the outside, the venue's interior is warm with cherry-toned wood everywhere. Some have complained the acoustics are too good, amplifying every cough and candy wrapper, but when the music is soaring, no complaints can be heard.
The line-up featured 14 artists—most of whom I wasn't familiar with, but probably should be. I'll just give a shout-out to my favorites below. Each was asked to perform two songs inspired by city life, acoustic-style. All the performers were clearly humbled and honored to be playing in such a hallowed hall, which made the show even more moving.
What a great discovery! I dug Biirdie's sound so much, I bought their CD in the lobby on the way out. Their "LA is Mars" was the perfect opener for the night. Great vocals, great melodies, great band. One to watch, as they say.
Well, hello! Zooey has been a favorite actress of mine since I first saw her in All the Real Girls, but I think her best performance so far has been as a guest star in Weeds. Hilarious and adorable. One day, I hope to write a movie for her. I can't really explain why, since I've never written a movie before. But I digress. The whole actress-who-wants-to-sing thing has been done to a crisp, but Zooey delivers. Let's just put it this way. When she performed, it was just her voice and her guitarist's strumming filling the grand arches of Disney Hall and those rafters were ringing with her clear bell tones. Really, really remarkable. I hope I get to see her perform in her own show one day. I've heard she's got an album coming out. Hooray!
Inara is a love. I've only met her in passing thanks to mutual friends, but everyone who knows Inara loves Inara. She's got an angelic voice and incredible range, plus is just darn cute. She performed two lovely songs with revered Brian Wilson collaborator, Van Dyke Parks, including one from her upcoming album. Hooray!
I have Sondre's first album, but kinda lost track of him after that (except for his instant classic "(I Wanna) Call it Love"). Based on his entertaining stage persona and energized song stylings, I'd like to see his full show sometime. Speaking of full, it's pretty clear Sondre's full of himself. But the boy has good reason to be.
Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio closed the show and was a show-stopper to be sure. His hilarious mumbled musings on city life and bombastic vocals gave a nice yin, yang and a bang to wrap up a wonderful night. I'd like to see more of the Kypster, too.