Click the photo for a slideshow of the concert. All photos by Michael Alan Goldberg.
Feist, Grizzly Bear
June 24, 2007
Feist, Grizzly Bear
June 24, 2007
Okay, let's get all the bad puns out of the way at the top: She was feeling Feist-y. The show was Feist or famine. The crowd Feist the music. Whew. Now to the heart of the matter: Feist -- Canadian singer-guitarist Leslie Feist and her crackerjack four-man backing band -- were, in a word, marvelous, during their 80-minute set at the very packed Moore Theatre on Sunday night.
Illuminated only by a disco ball spinning high above, the quintet sailed onto the stage and launched into the dreamy "Honey Honey," from Feist's latest disc, The Reminder; against the backdrop of swirling lights and twinkling keyboards, the 31-year-old singer -- playfully attired in a red dress, purple tights, and heels -- hoisted her hollow body guitar, strummed some nicely chewy chords, and unveiled her dulcet voice, which was in absolutely perfect form. From the outset, Feist's demeanor was calm, comfortable, and cool, addressing the audience as if they were a couple dozen friends gathered in a coffeehouse, not the 1,400+ that whooped and cheered adoringly throughout the 16-song set.
After what nearly amounted to a monologue encouraging audience participation on backing vocals (at one point she joked, "Everyone who sings along gets one of those cinnamon beavertail waffle things down at the market..."), Feist and her multi-tasking band -- which textured the songs with trumpet, melodica, brushed drumming, and keyboards galore -- really hit their stride several songs in with "The Limit to Your Love," which highlighted the singer's command of graceful, '70s-style jazz-pop. After swigging something from a small flask she'd stashed on top of her amp, Feist slid into an elegant cover of fellow Canadian singer Sarah Harmer's "Open Window"; her band departed briefly as she offered a rendition of "One Evening" accompanied only by her electric guitar, and then "Now at Last," for which she was joined by her pianist and a visibly excited tap dancer, who earned huge cheers for her adroit shuffle.
Feist closed out what felt like a too-brief set with current single "1234" and her biggest hit to date, "Mushaboom" (from her 2004 breakthrough disc, Let It Die), then returned for a two-song encore that included some righteous electric guitar jamming and, finally, a smooth, moving version of "Let It Die" on which the crowd ravenously Feisted, er, feasted (sorry).
Personal Bias: I've been a huge fan of Leslie Feist for years, both her solo stuff and her work with Broken Social Scene, but this was the first time I'd ever seen her live -- I was hoping for (and expecting) the best, and she really delivered.
Random Detail: Smoosh drummer Chloe jumped up and down next to me at the front of the stage during Feist's encore -- it was the second time in a little over a week that's happened (the first was during the Pipettes gig at Chop Suey, which Smoosh opened.)
By the way: I can't speak highly enough of the stunning eight-song, 45-minute opening set performed by Brooklyn indie-rock/art-folk quartet Grizzly Bear. The three- and four-part vocal harmonies were amazing, and the incorporation of flute, clarinet, autoharp, and recorder into their standard guitar-bass-drums setup made for richly layered songs that never felt dense. The best way I can describe it: Think of the way Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" makes you feel, then imagine nearly a whole set like that. Of Grizzly Bear's decision to play mostly slow, haunting songs, co-frontman Ed Droste noted from the stage, "There's no bar here, so if you hate it you're forced to listen to it." To the contrary, the audience loved it, as proved by the standing ovation at the end that clearly touched the band.