the hotel cafe tour : the music box at henry fonda, april 12, 2008
amidst the busy-ness of everything i have going on at the moment, i took time out to check out the hotel cafe tour last night. heading into the night i was most looking forward to seeing priscilla ahn, meiko, and ingrid michaelson, all three of whom i featured in my female singer/songwriters series. the night was filled with outstanding performances from upwards of 11 different artists, but the structure required to handle such a sheer volume of performers left a lot to be desired. each slot was only 10 to 15 minutes long, leaving time for only 2 or 3 songs, and although many of the performers had multiple slots or joined each other on stage, some of them did not. meiko was fantastic even though the nervous energy i saw in her in a small intimate cafe show in february was this time palpable even from the balcony at the fonda. ingrid michaelson was all over the stage and her stark rendition of radiohead's "creep" was one of the highlights of the night.
unfortunately, priscilla ahn was one of those who did not play much of a role beyond her initial three song set, a fact that was especially disappointing because, even among so much and such varied talent, she seemed to me far and away the most talented of anyone who performed. she commanded the audience with her voice--a glassy, soaring wonder of euphony in harmonics. (i don't even know if that description makes sense, perhaps meaning that her voice is beyond description with mere words). with a guitar over her shoulder, a harmonica around her neck, and a loop pedal at her feet, i just don't know how anyone could have not been impressed with her. she even switched out the harmonica for a kazoo (kazoo!) to play an unreleased song about boobs (not hers). the girl is amazing. given the brevity of her set, the chances of her playing the song i was waiting to hear were slim, and of course it didn't happen. but her new album, a good day, comes out june 10th, and her cover of a willie nelson song called "opportunity to cry" is one of my favorite songs and vocal performances so far this year.
priscilla ahn : "opportunity to cry"
from the forthcoming lp a good day (blue note records, june 10, 2008)