The difference couldn't have been more stark, in almost every sense. The first time I saw Feist was at a Folk Music Festival in, oh say, 2005. She was playing on the main-stage during a beautiful and bright sunset over Jericho Beach in Vancouver, Canada. The songs were fun, approachable. Tonight was darker. The stage was full of dark instruments packed with minor chords. The concert was the perfect nightcap for a day full of rain, wind, and drear.
Leslie Feist was accompanied by a few musicians, a plethora of keyboards, a bundle of oddly focused cameras, and 3 back-up singers who call themselves "Mountain Man." Singular. The ladies of Mountain Man turned out to be the perfect compliment to the songs from "Metals," Feist's latest release. If you haven't heard the new album, it's a different Feist than you might be used to. After hearing it, you might want to send Feist a quick note making sure she's alright, because it sounds like someone wronged that Canadian in a big way. Fortunately for the rest of us, it appears that misfortune has led to some of the most open and complex songs of her career. Upon first listen, I privately wondered if the songs from the album would translate into a live show, but my worries were set aside immediately. From "Graveyard," to "How Come you Never Go There," to, my personal favorite of the evening, "Comfort Me," the new songs were the stars.
As for the older Feist catalog, songs were played, and mostly rearranged (to varying levels of success). "Mushaboom," for example, sounded fantastic in its almost tribal makeover. "Sealion," was not as enjoyable for me. But, I love it when artists try new things, and different takes on classics, so I certainly can't fault them when they don't all work.
At one point in the evening, Leslie told the crowd "We're not spoon feeding you this concert." That was an an apt way to describe the show. Like her new music, the concert wasn't easy. Even the singing parts she gave the crowd were above intermediate. But, like a hard day's work, there was a sense of accomplishment after. I know I walked out onto SW Broadway feeling like I had just experienced something special, and I'm sure the 100 or so people that joined the the band on-stage for their final 3 songs felt the same way. Easy? No. Worth it? Every cent. ~Jason Miller
Highlights of the Set: Comfort Me, The Bad in Each Other, Graveyard, Mushaboom
PS: The opener, Chilly Gonzales, was frickin' incredible. Wow. If he ever comes within 90 miles of your residence, make it a priority.