Thursday, June 30, 2005

Annie @ Scenic


Last night I went to see my favorite Norwegian pop singer (with whom I'm kind of smitten) play at Scenic, the 'new' East Village venue (formerly Guernica and Save the Robots). Some bloggers have been critical of her vocal ability in a live setting, but I went in with an open mind.

The doors opened late, so Roomate Deborah and I stayed upstairs long enough to get a drink before heading down to the actual concert venue. The DJs spun long and good while we waited for Annie to come out.

Best preshow conversation:
Me: Are there really this many blondes in New York, or did the Norwegian consulate send out a memo?
Deb: All the girls are blonde and all the guys are not... its all
dark-haired Indie boys and blonde women
Me: Sounds like a match made in heaven
Deb: For you!

Annie came out (with a glass of wine!) around midnight.

Oh, Before I forget: Brooklyn Vegan has some nice photos. [I stole one of his for the image above.]

I've totally forgotten what order the songs were played in. She played 2 new songs, "Kiss Me" and "Wedding Song" (well, I hadn't heard them before; Wedding Song is definitely new, Kiss Me might be old). She played a bunch of the songs from the album - Chewing Gum, Heartbeat, Fool for Love, Me Plus One (which she's only played live a few times), others I can't recall at the moment. Annie does this thing when she performs where she points into the audience, matching it with the direct-address of her songs. I was dead center in front of her for the beginning of the set, and all through the first two songs she would point right at me, eye contact and all. As the show went on she started pointing in other directions as well. I enjoyed those first two songs best.

Her singing voice, while not spectacular, was fine, and her DJ was very good. Annie's stage presence, though, isn't there yet. She seemed a bit nervous or shy singing in front of the crowd (in a venue of only 150). She looked a little more self-conscious when she could see a camera pointed at her. Also, Annie had to keep adjusting her dress to keep it from slipping down.

I think we expect pop stars to be flawless in front of our gaze, to exist mainly as spectacle for our benefit. Their performance should appear effortless, and Annie is clearly working at it. She's not someone who needs to be looked at; she seems more like the rest of us, a little shy when being photographed or in front of a big group of people. Still, her performance is good because the material is so good, and I would definitely go see her again.

I wondered going in if in a year she'd be Kylie big or still be playing clubs like Scenic and Hiro. I think probably the latter, because of her performance's lacks, but it'd be great to see her take off in the US.

She didn't play an encore, and I didn't get to hang out with her after the show.

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