Thursday, September 14, 2006

Laura Veirs

Show: Laura Veirs at Cafe Du Nord
Headliner: Laura Veirs and the Saltbreakers (formerly Laura Veirs and the Tortured Souls)
Openers: Your Heart Breaks, Karl Blau
Location: Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco, CA
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2006
2006 Show #: 14

The first show I've gone to in quite some time. And I decided to go to this one on something of a whim. It was a good time though. Before the show I saw Laura Veirs just hanging around in the crowd as well as other people from the band(s).

The show started at 9:35 with Your Heart Breaks. A folksy band with a boyish looking woman for lead singer and singing songs about issues that matter to teenagers. Songs were about things like fighting the city to protect public access areas and about getting annoyed when waking up to find your walls spray painted again with a message while living in a punk house. Yep, read that sentence again if you're having a hard time digesting it. The band wasn't that young though. The lead singer could have bee as young as 22 or 23 at youngest. It was an enjoyable set though, if nothing to wow my socks off. They get points for an enjoyable band name. The played a 25 minute set.

Next came on Karl Blau. Karl was the drummer (I think) for Your Heart Breaks. His instrumentation consisted of several different types of microphones and several looping recorders. The kind of recorders where you record a few bars, and then loop those bars non stop. Everything else he did with his voice. After creating some soundscapes, he'd read the works of various lesser modern day poets to the beats.

He was incredibly nervous for the show. Several times early on he seemed ready to quit and very much needed encouragement from the crowd. I heartily chipped in and he continued on to do a 30 minute set. I enjoyed the show. It's definitely an interesting set. Enjoyable, but it needs some work. I think it'd be great stuff with a bit more polish, a bit more obvious hectic-ness (one guy with a recorder and earnestness really isn't enough to sate for a full set), and a bit more confidence.

Laura Veirs and her band came on at 11:15 and played til 12:22 (main set)/12:30 (+ encore). On the marquee (well, Du Nord doesn't have a marquee, but on the posters out front) the band was called Laura Veirs and The Tortured Souls. Midway through the set though, Veirs stated that they were abandoning the other name and were now Laura Veirs and The Saltbreakers. She then went on to explain that Saltbreakers were waves. Anyway, the band consisted of everyone from Your Heart Breaks minus the earlier lead singer. That's a lot of work for the guys, especially Karl Blau. He was out there for all 3 sets.

The band is on a short west coast swing they said. Mostly to live practice their new stuff. Veirs said next week they'd be going into the studio to record the new stuff. I'm looking forward to it. As near as I can recall it (with help from the written but incomplete setlist), the setlist is as follows:
Pink Light (with a drawing of a duck's head quacking)
Bright Glitt
Riptide (not on the setlist)
Cast A Hook
Secret Someones
Black Butterfly
Wandering Kind
Fire Snakes
Don't Lose
(A picture of a heart)
Ether Sings (Encore)
Spelunking (Encore, not on setlist)
I recall them playing Black Gold Blues somewhere in there too. Of the new stuff, Saltbreakers is my favorite. I eagerly look forward to the release of the new material.

The show was a very good set. It was a good contrast from her solo set at Swedish American Hall that I saw earlier in the year too. I was probably 4 feet from Veirs for the length of the show, which was neat. I've never made an effort to get that close before. There was no one between me and her. Overall, just an excellent show, a sort of relaxed preview of the next album with a few old favorites mixed in.

Good times.