Laura Veirs is totally my new BFF.
Saw her open for Colin Meloy at the Park West last night, and she is absolutely the cutest thing evuh. There's a really beautiful childishness about her that stops just short of innocence or preciousness. She traverses a similar landscape to the one Bjork does, that place where visions of wood sprites tippling absinthe-laced oolong tea collide with horizon-size images of blood and bone and muscle and sinew. She's like Heavenly Creatures set to music, this tiny woman with an epic imagination that finds wonder in the power of nature yet also finds delight in the familiarity of the mundane. Her precise and almost affected diction, the way she would sway from side to side while she was playing the guitar, and the exuberance with which she used her looping machine to harmonize with herself all helped create the impression that she probably just does this to amuse herself when she's home alone. There's something undeniably special about her. I chatted her up a bit at the end of the night, told her how much I love Year of Meteors, and had her sign the copy of her previous album Carbon Glacier that I'd just bought at the merch table. I didn't feel too bad about spazzing out on her; I figured she'd get where I was coming from.
And then there was Colin. Ah, Colin. I so love these solo shows that he does; they make me feel like, "ah yes, I get to spend an evening with my old pal who's visiting town for the day." His music is such a huge part of my life now; I kind of got emotional a couple of times throughout the night just because hearing him sing his songs felt so comforting and made me so happy. He played a nearly perfect variety of stuff from each of the albums and the Five Songs EP, as well as one song from his tour-only disk of Shirley Collins covers, one old Tarkio tune (in honor of Kill Rock Stars rereleasing an anthology of their stuff), and two new songs. One of the songs was for Fetus Meloy, as expected, and the other was inspired by/in honor of the Shankill Butchers, whom he'd recently read about in a book of Irish history. It's another one of those hilariously grisly Struwwelpeter-type songs he does so well, full of admonitions to children to mind their mothers or else the Shankill Butchers will cut them in their sleep. The overly earnest and worshipful audience, full of chubby drama geeks who arrived as soon as the doors opened so they could line the lip of the stage in reverence, was stone-silent through the whole thing; I don't think they got that it was supposed to be funny. In addition to the Shirley Collins song, he also reached the requisite indie-cover quota by ingeniously tacking one verse of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" on to the end of "Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect" and finishing his always-impressive solo version of "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" with the Decemberists' wonderful funeral dirge arrangement of The Smiths' "Ask." It was a beautifully paced, emotionally satisfying show, smooth without being soulless. (Yes, that was pointed at you, Mick.)