Sunday, May 6, 2012

Show Review - Sharon Van Etten - 4.28.12 - Carnegie Lecture Hall - Pittsburgh - Live Review - Concert Review

Sharon Van Etten made a stop last Saturday touring behind her recently released album Tramp. The show was presented by the Warhol, but the actual event was held in the Carnegie Lecture Hall. This was my first time experiencing a show here, and although not a musical venue, the auditorium was well maintained with quite respectable acoustics. While not at full capacity this evening (about 150 empty) the crowd was still attentive and quiet for the entire performance.

Van Etten's music is often melancholoy, with lyrics based on an unkind lover or scorned follower. She channels that painful ache from love gone awry onstage with an honest and fluid delivery. The singer was front and center supported by a four piece backing band that allowed her to be the focus of the performance. Often demonstrating her skills, SVE was able to bounce from one instrument to another with no trouble. 

SVE has a bit of a silly, self-deprecating stage presence, which is surprising since her material is rather expressive on a personal level. She and the band were having an interaction with a 'yogi girl' that was literally spread out on the floor in front of the stage. The 'yogi' talked with the band between every song while doing some acid-laced danced when they were playing (this same girl was at Oberhofer two nights later at the Warhol wearing an American flag skirt and laurel around her head). SVE and the band were having some fun with it at first, but for me (and them) it got tiresome to the point I wish they told her to shut it. We weren't at a Phish show. 

 Fortunately, this presence did not get in the way of the songs. Her and the band were able to switch focus and deliver an inspired performance, even after awkwardly talking to the yogi. The only downfall for me was her banter with the audience. At times it was meandering and uncomfortable to the point I asked why? But maybe this will smooth out with time. She will be in the limelight for a while. 

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