March 29, 2009
Conversation between me and my dad:
Dad: Your brother is dissing you on his blog.
Me: What? Let me look at that.
Dad: He’s talking about how you haven’t posted since Obama was inaugurated.
Me: I just posted today! But I didn’t see his post first. I get these emails from grandma saying she misses my blog too. I mean, I was going to write about my strep throat, but…
Dad: Yeah, that’s not even news.
Me: I know. My whole blog is going to be about strep throat.*
Dad: Yeah. Save it. Count it.
March 28, 2009
I’m having trouble writing about Brandi Carlile’s Thursday night show at the Birchmere because I can’t quite figure out which words to use to make you feel the energy and awe like I did. I bought the tickets as a birthday present for Allen, and we were both looking forward to it, but neither of us anticipated just how good it would be.
However good Brandi sounds on her albums, she’s unreal in person. Her voice is uniquely rich and deep but so natural at the same time that you’re not sure how she – or anyone – can be producing a sound like that. But lest you let the microphones and the showmanship fool you into thinking that somehow it’s just an elaborate illusion, Brandi also stepped out from behind the mic and sang one of the songs from her new album unplugged. (So then you just know that you can’t believe your ears or your eyes.)
Every bit of the show was a treat. Gregory Alan Isakov opened, and about four songs in, he asked Brandi Carlile to join him on stage. You’re sitting there thinking, “This guy is pretty good. He’s got a good voice.” Then Brandi Carlile opens her mouth to sing along with him, and you’re blown away. All the while, she’s chatting with the audience about how much she loves Gregory Alan Isakov’s music, and he’s making charmingly nervous self-deprecating jokes about pleading to be taken along on tour. Their interactions with each other and the audience were refreshingly normal.
When Brandi Carlile came back out with her band – the twins managing to look cute and tough at the same time with their matching hats and their tattoos on lean arms – she led the audience along with her easy conversation and her powerful singing. She regaled us with several songs from her upcoming album (which I am itching for now) and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the band’s relationship.
At one point she told a story about taping the new album, where the twins had to sing into the same mic about an inch from each other, and they alternated cussing each other out and singing angelically. Then one of the engineers said, “Those ladies are so good!” Then they all started the song, and as the twins began to sing their part, people in the audience started to laugh, and then more people started to laugh, until Brandi herself started laughing and had to stop singing.
They wrapped up the show with a rousing rendition of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison, and followed it up with a double encore – one song with the band, and one with just Brandi.
I think Allen liked his birthday present.