On Tuesday night, I did something that I have wanted to do for some time, and the experience was so much fun, it seems an appropriate topic for my first post on southchild. But let me back up. About a year and a half ago, a friend bought and gave me “Failer”, the debut album by Kathleen Edwards. From my first listen, I was hooked and have kept up with her tour dates hoping that she would play in the Baltimore area.
When I saw that she and her band were playing a gig in New York, to accompany the release of her second album, “Back To Me”, and her appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, I knew I had to see the show. And I wasn’t disappointed. The venue was the Canal Room, a recently refurbished club in Manhattan’s West Village. Upon first entering, the Canal Room looks more like a lounge than a music venue. Check out the pics at the web site. It’s a sleek setting for a concert.
The opening act was interesting to say the least. An American came on stage with a Zimbabwean instrument, the name of which I will never recall. His sister and his wife, who is originally from Zimbabwe, were dressed in traditional African costumes (or so it appeared) and danced and sang back-up vocals. His wife’s brother played the guitar. The guy was intense, though the music wasn’t exactly my style. I was there to see Kathleen.
Shortly after 9 o’clock, Kathleen was introduced, and she and her band came on-stage. Before saying a word, she strapped on her guitar, and the band played a song from “Back To Me”. Having just bought the album today (in fact, I’m listening to it now), I believe the opening song was In State. I was immediately struck by her voice — it’s powerful. And she has a great stage presence, which is only enhanced by her awesome boots, worn guitars and vintage Vox amp. I had read that she likes performing live, and it shows, despite the fact that she was, by her own admission, tired (she had ridden 13 hours on a Greyhound from Toronto to NYC for the performance that night).
But what’s really fun is watching her interact with her band. She and lead guitarist Colin Cripps (or the “Riffler, the keeper of the riffs” as Kathleen calls him) are super-comfortable together. And he is a great guitarist (and looks uncannily like Will Farrell), but she seemed pleased with the latest addition to the band, Jim Bryson, who is an afficiando, playing keyboards, vibraphone, guitar and singing back-up vocals.
The crowd was very excited when Kathleen played some songs from “Failer”, the first of which was Hockey Skates. She also played Mercury, Six O’Clock News, and National Steel (to fulfill a fan’s request). The highlights were:
- the band playing Back To Me, the title track. It’s a powerful song on the CD and more so live.
- Kathleen’s solo performance of Good Things, a song she said that she wrote for her brother, and
- Kathleen kicking her amp in the middle of a song — it quit on her, but the kick seemed to do the trick.
During the encore, the band played a great cover of Unknown Legend by Neil Young. All in all, a great show. Go out and buy the new album, and if you haven’t bought “Failer”, buy that as well. You won’t be disappointed.