Tonight is an emotional journey through Kristen’s illustrious career. A night filled with emotive, introspective lyrics and an ambience that shrouds the sell-out audience in a warm embrace.
In a world where music is often characterized by its relentless evolution and ever-changing trends, tonight’s intimate concert serves as a soulful reminder of the timeless magic that can be created with just a voice, guitar and a cello. Tonight is an emotional journey through Kristen’s illustrious career. A night filled with emotive, introspective lyrics and an ambiance that shrouds the sell-out audience in a warm embrace.
Kristin Hersh, renowned for both her work as the frontwoman of Throwing Muses and her prolific solo career, takes the stage with a gentle smile, a modest acoustic guitar and cellist, Cello Pete. The intimate setting of the Halle St. Peter’s Hall creates a palpable sense of expectation. It’s wooden beams and stained-glass windows providing a spiritual backdrop for a night that would prove to be anything but ordinary. In a unique twist, there is no setlist for the evening and the songs played are alternatively chosen at random by Kristin and her talented collaborator, Cello Pete. The lack of a setlist making the evening a more intimate and spontaneous performance adding an extra layer of unpredictability and excitement to the evening. A genuine musical conversation between artist and audience.
“Eyeshine”, from solo album “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace”, immediately sets the tone. It’s hauntingly beautiful melody and Kristen’s voice resonate through the church hall as she sings and both are delicate and intense: The purity of an acoustic concert allowing her vocals to shine and lyrics such as “A hundred voices I wish I’d heard when they cried, eyeshine, a little light goes a long way” resounding with powerful imagery.
Filled with intricate fingerpicking, delicate strumming and vivid storytelling “Sundrops/Shaky Blue Can” is a revelation, transporting the seated crowd into the dark recesses’ of Kristen’s mind. The songs showcasing an ability to weave intricate tales within her music, where every word is a brushstroke on the canvas of her aural landscape. “Krait” from “Possible Dust Clouds” follows, carrying the audience through the darkness, making us all feel every twist and turn of the words. The combination of a raspy, almost ethereal voice and the raw, unembellished guitar creating a spellbinding atmosphere that is utterly meaningful and completely captivating. So far, it’s been a powerful demonstration of the chemistry between Hersh and Cello Pete, two artists who perfectly complement each other.
“Dandelion” is a trip down memory lane and as Kirsten and cello Pete perform the classic from the Throwing Muses days, it becomes evident how Kirsten’s music has matured over the years while still retaining its unique emotional depth and power: Moved by the nostalgia of the moment, I notice several of the crowd softly singing along, a testament to the enduring connection Hersh’s songs still have with her listeners.
Hersh’s stage presence is modest and unassuming. Her humility and sincerity evident from the very first note. She engages with the audience through humorous anecdotes, providing insight into the inspiration behind her songs. Her storytelling is as enchanting as her music, making us feel like we were in the presence of a dear friend sharing their deeply personal stories. Cello Pete’s rich and evocative cello adding depth and texture to Hersh’s masterful guitar work.
Hersh continues to share her musical odyssey with “Palmetto” from “Possible Dust Clouds”. Lyrics such as “Palmetto dark, your hair is pale, and when you speak, the peacock’s tail, all your skin in one swift motion, tastes like God’s own elixir ocean” are dark and enigmatic serving as a reminder of Hersh’s prodigious gift for crafting evocative song narratives.
The climax of the evening comes within “Your Ghost” one of her most iconic songs. It’s a moment of unity and nostalgia as the crowd softly joins in, singing the haunting chorus “And if I live by the sea, oh, I want to be, your ghost”. The combination of Hersh’s haunting voice and the audience’s collective presence make tonight’s performance a truly heavenly experience. As the song concludes, the response is an eruption of applause.
It’s a mesmerizing journey through Kirsten’s illustrious career tonight. Her distinctive voice, soul-baring lyrics and masterful guitar work creating an ambience that is both introspective and emotionally charged. Her performance, spanning classics like “Dandelion” to later material such as “Eyeshine” showcasing her enduring artistry and her ability to still touch the hearts of her audience. Hersh’s storytelling and anecdotes is equally compelling, providing context and personal insight into her songs, which adds depth to the entire experience. Tonight is also a testament to the enduring power of acoustic music and its ability to transport listeners to a place of introspection, emotion, and connection through the magic of acoustic storytelling. It’s a beautiful reminder of the power of spontaneous and intimate acoustic performances in a perfect backdrop and a testament to the enduring magic of live music.
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I’ve loved music since forever. Graphic designer, photographer and artist at painted.papillon.smile (www.ppsdesign.co.uk)