Let's conduct a celebrity DNA experiment. Let's say you've got a Petri Dish. Let's say, in that Petri Dish, you've got the love gunk of the following luminaries: Carol Channing, Rufus Wainwright, Paul Simon, Tori Amos, Ben Lee, Pia Zadora, Tom Waits, Ani DiFranco and the woman who sings the Spanish version of "Crying" in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Let's say that love gunk gets mixed up, injected into Amos' womb, and crystallizes into a gorgeous little bambino. That bambino would be hopelessly annoying. It would also be sensationally talented. That bambino would be Regina Spektor, one of the most frustrating, confounding, and mesmerizing musicians on the planet.
Last night, Spektor played solo before an adoring packed house at the Moore. Her vocal range, tone and precision were awe-inspiring and gorgeous, her minimalist piano technique pitch perfect, and her lyrics often hilarious. But her pseudo-beatboxing, Jewel-esque vocal inflections and goofy percussive meltdowns were as annoying as they were unique. Spektor's unpredictability is doubtless part of her extreme charm. It is also why she might find that her audiences will stagnate at Moore-sized venues. Maybe she doesn't care; and that's fine. But if Spektor wanted to, she might yet make a singularly beautiful work of music, the likes of which this earth has not seen in a great long while. She's that talented. It will be fascinating to watch whether she harnesses that talent in more focused future exploits.
Oh, and special bonus pre-show pre-func question: Which scene would you rather spend two hours in: (1) a group of insufferably snotty participants in a "transnational trivia" event sponsored by a vague international issues nonprofit which has rudely commandeered an entire Belltown sports bar (and its TVs) in the middle of the Warriors-Mavericks playoff game, or (2) a notorious Belltown tavern across the street from a drug-park-turned-dog-park where virtually every patron is dangerously hammered or dealing, uh, certain contraband that isn't as innocent as baseball cards? Tough one, isn't it?