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Last Friday Amy P invited me to go with her, John P, and a couple friends to a show at The Triple Door. They were all going to see Keren Ann, an artist whose name sounded vaguely familiar but I knew nothing about. I was willing enough to go at that point to see this musician that Amy obviously regarded highly, as well as simply to hang out with friends. Then Amy added that the other act was some band they didn't know, called Dean & Britta, and I exclaimed, "Oh, Dean and Britta! Oh yeah!" Although I don't actually know Dean & Britta's work that well, I have a song of theirs and had heard others before on KEXP, as well as having some familiarity with their former band Luna. So off I went to the Triple Door for the second time in a week.

The bands were playing two shows that evening, and we attended the early one. Although the Triple Door's site said that Keren Ann would play first, Dean & Britta took the stage promptly at 7 pm. The group included Dean Wareham (guitar and vocals) and Britta Phillips (bass and vocals) of course, along with Ben Freeman (keyboard, and rhythm guitar for a song) and Anthony LaMarca (drums). Dean & Britta's music ranged from country and American folk to indie rock and dreampop, with generally mellow, slow to mid-tempo songs. At times when Britta sang, I was reminded strongly of Mazzy Star; John and Amy suggested Portishead for comparison as well. Britta's slightly breathy voice paired well with Dean's occasionally rougher croon. I enjoyed their set very much, though for me the highlight was not one of their own songs, but rather their set-closing cover of Serge Gainsbourg's song "Bonnie and Clyde". As I was short on cash, I didn't pick up any CDs, but the show convinced me I need to become more familiar with Dean & Britta.

Keren Ann is a talented musician and singer, who played acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, and bass during her set. She had two backing musicians (unfortunately I didn't get their names), one on bass, backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, and the other on drums. In her first couple songs, she sounded very similar to Dean & Britta, but as she continued she wandered through a variety of related genres: straight-up country ballads, to upbeat rockabilly, to American folk, to blues-rock, and even funk. She also played French cabaret folk-pop, touching on her performing roots in France; for her encore, she played without accompaniment "Jardin d'Hiver", a song she wrote for French musician Henri Salvador, who passed away just two days before at the age of 90. I most enjoyed the last song before the encore, featuring her delicate guitar playing over a funky bass line that drove the song forward, creating a tension that suggested an impending explosion but faded out unresolved in the end. Also notable was the acoustic guitar duet on "Not Going Anywhere". Overall, Keren Ann's whole set was quite good, and I felt abashed for somehow being ignorant of her before. I will have to become more familiar with her music as well.

Edit to add photo links. I was closer to the stage this time than at last week's Mono In VCF show, so I have a few more photos, but they still didn't come out as well as I'd like. I kept four photos of Dean & Britta, starting here, and one photo of Keren Ann.



As I mentioned in my last post, this Thursday Beehive are playing at Neumos, along with Emilia Sosa and Furniture Girls, and I'm going to try to make it. Next up, I should be at Chop Suey on Sunday March 2 to see Balkan Beat Box, and then there's a bunch more shows in March and April that I'm considering. We'll see which ones I make it to...


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The List: June 2011

List of tasks or activities I need or want to do this month.

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