Friday, November 21, 2008

Anya Marina Played Cafe Du Nord

You may remember that yesterday we weren't really sure what to expect from Anya Marina's set at Cafe Du Nord, and that we were banking heavily on her Britt Daniel-related credentials. Well, suffice it to say, there was no need to worry: Marina, with only an acoustic guitar and a handful of beat machine backing tracks, delivered a show that was as solid as it was enjoyable, with a little comedy to boot.

The thing that struck us most immediately about the performance was Marina's highly competent guitar playing. It's far to often that you go to see an artist see a "solo set", and wind up hearing strummy strummy chord action that yields little or no original vibe. Marina's guitar playing was exactly the opposite: she had the technical chops to play intricate, syncopated parts, while at the same time giving each part it's own unique character.

On top of her guitar playing chops, Marina also had the songwriting skills to keep her tunes from just being typical folky ditties. The lyrics were sufficiently abstract, and the melodies unique enough, to yield songs that left the listener with some room for their own interpretation. Despite having a song featured on Grey's Anatomy, Marina's songs didn't feel canned, or like they were catering to some predetermined adult alternative target market.

Finally, it would be remiss to discuss the set without at least mentioning Marina's playful stage banter. She seemed completely at home on stage, and engaged the audience with a range of stories and reflections. Maybe this is sourced in her days as a DJ, or maybe it just comes naturally. Regardless, she roped in the crowd, and it was the biggest round of applause we've heard for an unfamiliar opening act in quite some time.

More pictures at the HAD Archive