Mirah @ Highline Ballroom

23Oct08

Something was a little off last night at the Mirah concert at Highline Ballroom. Mirah herself said it was just “one of those days.” But it wasn’t that her voice was off, it was more that she seemed frustrated by the set-up at Highline Ballroom. I had seen her play with a drummer before, but this time she played solo, just her and her guitar. When she started playing she seemed uncomfortable. First, she wondered aloud if the lighting was the same as during the sound check. Then, still not satisfied, she repeated the question, hoping the lighting technician would get the hint. She also had problems with the sound coming through her monitor and inquired about that as well. There was an annoying buzzing noise coming from her guitar amplifier, which I don’t think she could hear, but it was definitely heard by the crowd. She even stopped mid-song at one point because it didn’t sound right to her. She seemed frustrated, and it took her a few songs to “settle in,” as she put it.

It was too bad that the technical difficulties got to her because I suspect that Mirah would be able to put on an incredible show even if the entire venue lost power. Her voice alone is impressive and it needs no accompaniment. It is unique, yet soothing, but not in a cheesy, easy-listening way, more in a controlled, calm, “everything is going to be alright” kind of way. I remember seeing her perform for the first time and being in awe that a human was actually given a voice like that. I felt lucky that she decided to share it with other people.

Mirah played a lot of my favorite songs, including ‘Cold Cold Water,’ ‘Don’t Die in Me,’ and ‘Apples in the Trees.’ A cute moment came when she invited Nick Krgovich, singer from opening band No Kids, to join her at the microphone. The two sang Mirah’s ‘Words Cannot Describe,’ a song that sounds like it could be part of a soundtrack of an old-fashioned love story.

Before coming back for an encore performance of ‘The Garden,’ Mirah apologized for her awkwardness, and admitted that a bad bowl of oatmeal may have been the root of the off day. I still enjoyed the songs, but I felt like she never got past the technical issues and the resulting tense atmosphere. I’d definitely see Mirah perform again, but next time I want to be sitting down at a venue like Town Hall. I did realize one other thing at the show last night: concerts are hot. With winter practically here, I know that if nothing else, I can go to a show to warm up this winter, and to me that might just be worth the price of admission alone.

Opening band, No Kids, was made up of two keyboardists, one of whom was also the vocalist (a guy singing falsetto). The songs were a little too slow for me and the electronic sound felt more like background music. Though I do give them credit for somehow managing to create a song that incorporates bean bags, tree stumps, and crack pipes into the lyrics. After doing a little research I found out that they are three members of a now defunct band called P:ano (yeah, don’t know how to pronounce this one. And see where it got them…).

And a picture (sorry, it was dark):

Mirah at Highline Ballroom

Mirah at Highline Ballroom

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One Response to “Mirah @ Highline Ballroom”

  1. 1 ilya

    Wow, it’s like I was prescient. Good thing I didn’t go. You already loved her, but it would’ve been tough seeing someone for the first time on their bad day. I went to see Lady Sovereign once and I love her album, but her live show was laden with profanities, mostly directed at the guy who was working the board. Apparently, she was getting feedback and it made her really unhappy. For the entire show.


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