December 13, 2008 @ Cabaret Juste pour rire

review by
Esteban Vargas

The night was off to a good start as the multi-instrumental, folk trio, The Low Anthem, set the mood for the night with a mellow yet intimate performance fitting for the Cabaret. Of notable mention was their performance of “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round” which borrowed from gospel music while blending together the smooth harmonies which are present throughout their music. As interesting as it was to see the band members swap what seemed like an endless array of instruments throughout their set, what was probably the most remarkable (and unexpected) was the band’s use of cellphone feedback as an instrument as they created an almost ghostly whistle. The musical transition between The Low Anthem’s opening act and Rachael Yamagata’s eventual set could not have been more fitting.

A self-described “sexually-repressed, raging alcoholic”, Rachael Yamagata is far from as, appropriately enough, she opened with her first of two title tracks off her latest album, “Elephants”. Despite the heavy, yet graceful emotional connotations which such a track explores, Yamagata was able to lighten the mood without destroying the moment through the use of decorative Christmas lights scattered on stage as she sunk into her keyboard. What followed was a blend of past successes as well as music from her recent album. After seducing her audience with “What If I Leave”, Yamagata was quick to sprinkle some playful lightheartedness, letting her fans in on how the wine she had been drinking was putting her in a bad mood and now she preferred Jack and Coke, at which point she launched into one of her most celebrated works, “Be Be Love”. Unexpectedly, Yamagata, continued to drop her sometimes ironic comedy bits throughout songs, even going as far as engaging in conversations with her audience in Moliere’s language. Yamagata was only getting warmed up as she set her intimate venue on fire with “Faster” and “Worn Me Down” at which time several fans yelled out “On t’aime!”. After being explained the significance, Yamagata, intrigued, replied “Like, forever? Or we all love you?”. Grabbing a swig of her Jack and Coke and exclaiming “Bonjour, Jacques, je t’aime”, Yamagata opted to continue her set with more of an uplifting, rock feel as she jumped in to “Sidedish Friend”. She eventually closed off the night with “Sunday Afternoon”.

Borrowing from folk, indie, and rock Rachael Yamagata, weaves together profound emotions through notions of lost-love, hurt, and sexuality in a unique way. The slight rasp in her voice sets the feel which could only be achieved by legends of music past, as Yamagata truly becomes one with her instruments.

Check out The Low Anthem at www.lowanthem.com

Check out Rachael Yamagata at www.rachaelyamagata.com

Special thanks to Guillaume Audy at Warner Music

Be sure to check out MMS' exclusive interview with Rachael Yamagata here.


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