Entertainment Magazine

Feist and Friends at Radio City Music Hall

Posted on the 09 May 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie


Photo Credit: Dominick Mastrangelo via Brooklyn Vegan

“We brought some friends with us tonight,” Ms. Leslie Feist cooed from the mammoth stage at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night. She was referring to the full orchestra arranged behind her, but the statement also applied to the roughly 5,900 eager fans in the audience who she made a point of befriending.

Feist (@feistmusic), without a trace of ego, wasted no time in dissolving the ‘fourth wall’ separating the audience from the performers.  She paused between songs to lead a wave across the crowd then later to build a four-part harmony divided by seating tiers — the top note was designated to any fellow Canadians (“because you came the farthest”). Throughout her set, the crowd was encouraged to sing along with her distinctively coy vocals. She was also on a mission to fill the vacant front row seats left unclaimed by the Rockettes; her requests for the crowd to move forward were followed by an improvised diddy contemplating the remaining empty seats. As expected, much scurrying ensued through the aisles with each call for forward movement. During the spirited “My Moon My Man”, Feist herself darted into the audience, returning to the stage with packs of enthusiasts who spread across in front of the orchestra as newly minted backup dancers. “It’s those kinds of moments that I actually live for,” she admitted once the stage had been efficiently cleared.

During her two hours onstage, Feist infused songs from each of her three albums with new vitality, building upon the intrigue of her sound without attempting to reimagine things entirely (a more melancholy spin on her hit “Mushaboom” for example). The subtleties of her voice and her music were never overpowered by the near 20 musicians behind her on strings, horns and percussion, plus the ladies of a capella band Mountain Man on backup vocals. She had the audience on their feet for “The Bad In Each Other”, singing into her microphone on “Sealion”, swaying softly through “Let It Die” and fulfilling the call and response at the end of “Intuition”. She performed the show’s final song, her second encore, standing alone onstage in her fitted white vintage dress, almost imperceptible amidst the abandoned music stands and instruments. She sang with an intimacy incongruent with the vastness of the space; it was thrilling.

The three members of opening band Timber Timbre (@timber_timbre), with their series of pedals, a single bass drum and a few guitars, seemed equally obscure within the elaborate stage set-up. Nonetheless, their sound stirred through the cavernous theater with a rich resonance. Their abrupt 30 minute set succinctly wet the palates of the audience, both for Feist as well as for a further taste of their own haunting music. Themes of death flicker through the songs, dripping with the blues and colored by ominous sounds of whistles, birdcalls and whirring violin. The husky voice of singer Taylor Kirk calls to the darkness of Tom Waits; despite a pervading sense of danger, his appeal is irresistible. Scattered cheers from the audience at the start of songs like “Demon Host” exposed those fans already under this band’s spell.

With performances like these, there’s little chance of avoiding enchantment.

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