Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharon Van Etten & Tennis Live Review

 It has been quite the year for Sharon Van Etten with her early 2012 release of Tramp receiving praise from so many different artists from many genres. Tramp has literally spent weeks at a time on my turntable, so to say that I was stoked for this show, would be an understatement. Getting close really close to the stage, I expected great things from SVE and her folk-rock 3 piece band. But first Tennis.

The show began with an energetic set from Tennis, who are no strangers to the Urban Lounge performing for the second time since the release of Young and Old the band's second full length album. I really enjoyed Tennis as an opener this time around appropriately setting the tempo for the night playing favorites we've come to love them for like "Marathon" and "South Carolina" from Cape Dory. Alaina Moore is so tiny. Even on stage she was barely taller than me as she played her keyboard and sang her choir-like vocals. Her husband Patrick Riley looks more like a American Apparel tennis model than a guitar player, but his stage presence is always known as he dances center stage whilst strumming. Tennis finished their set with "Origins", and then quickly hit the road for the next leg of their tour.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Vitale
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Vitale
Shortly after, SVE and friends took stage opening with a mellow harmonium for "All I Can". Her band didn't seem to have the same confidence as Sharon with the second song "Warsaw", but the following song "Save Yourself" from 2010's Epic proved the 3 piece was talented enough to keep up with the front lady. She told crowd "Lenoard" was written after she went through a phase of listening to Lenoard Coehn.

Her stories between songs entranced us all just like her heartwarming songs filled with gut-wrenching poetry for lyrics. "Kevin's" was a tale how she had to allow herself to love again after a messy breakup. "Magic Chords" was the last song before her brief solo featuring perfect male harmony vocals from her backup guitar player.

Sharon Van Etten wrote a song about quitting cigarettes being one of the most trying things she's ever done. Sharon Van Etten gives fans at the front of the stage high fives. Sharon Van Etten can make you laugh, or she can make you cry, or she can make you stand there in awe as she turns the three chords from her first song written on electric guitar "Serpents" into an eruption of primal instinct. Showing anger with lyrics "You enjoy sucking on dreams/So I will fall asleep with someone other than you", and a drummer pounding to the same scarring rhythm.

The evening ended with a two song encore including her most famous track "Love More", but before that the band ended the regular set with "I'm Wrong". This showed the far more bitter than sweet side of SVE, while she spent the majority of the song in a trance knelt down in the unhinged delicacy of her surroundings. Her touring guitar player matching the passion as he played the electric guitar with a string bow knocking over expensive equipment as the song swirled into a jaw-dropping performance that has been instilled I'll never forget August 17th 2012. If you get the chance don't pass up seeing Sharon Van Etten live.

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