Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sharon Van Etten and Megafaun Played Music Hall Of Williamsburg - Pictures, Review

It was a soggy night of April showers – not to mention Tax Day – last Saturday, but we were excited enough to climb out of bed, pull on the rain boots, and slog over to Music Hall of Williamsburg to check out Sharon Van Etten. We first heard Sharon’s haunting backup vocals on The National’s latest song “Think You Can Wait,” which they wrote for the movie WIN WIN. Our reaction was: “Who the hell is that!?!” So we had to check out this show and find out more.

First up, though, was Megafaun and we were lucky to arrive early enough to catch their whole set. These three North Carolinians (two brothers and a high school best friend) are former band mates of Justin Vernon and they share some of Bon Iver’s folksiness. But what makes Megafaun stand out is their energy and sense of humor. These guys simply know how to have fun on stage. When drummer Joe Westerlund – looking like a Tolkien character after a week at Burning Man – took over lead vocals for a song, he delivered a theatrical performance that almost channeled Freddie Mercury. It was surprising and pretty hilarious – and the crowd ate it up.

Megafaun’s admiration for Sharon Van Etten seemed more heartfelt than most opening bands, and by the time she came on stage and opened with two solo acoustic songs, we could see why. She has a no frills performance style. She lets her voice do all the work. But she’s the type of singer that causes everyone in the room to freeze in their tracks and hang on every single word. Her backup band eventually filled out her sound, but the crowd remained motionless and pretty much in awe throughout the show.

Things seemed to build up to the final song in the set, which happens to be our favorite. When Sharon walked over to the harmonium and squeezed out the first notes of “Love More” from her second album “Epic,” we knew it had become a special night. This slow-burning, sad, and ultimately soaring track showcases Sharon’s talents better than any other so far. We have a feeling “Love More” is just the beginning. Sharon Van Etten is clearly someone to watch out for in the future. We walked out into the rain with that great feeling only music can give you when it moves you.

Pictures and Text by Chris Goldberg
More pictures in the HAD Archive