Monday, July 18, 2011

Show review: Jolie Holland at Lincoln Hall, 7/12

By Gene Wagendorf III

Jolie Holland
My take on Jolie Holland's show Tuesday night at Lincoln Hall could easily be titled "How I Fell in Love Ten Times in One Night." The Houston native's set drew heavily from her recently released record Pint of Blood, but the material carried an extra bounce and fuller sound, almost rendering her record obsolete. I say that, mind you, as a huge fan of the album in question. The ambling tune of "Honey Girl" found a lush focus onstage and practically stole the night no more than three songs in. Arrangements were key to the evening's success; Holland was joined onstage by backup vocalist and violin player Carey Lamprecht, guitarist Jeff Munger and drummer Ford Tennis. During "Honey Girl" Holland's voice, which is more of a lead instrument than a medium for lyrics, wove seductively between Lamprecht's melodies to create warm, ripened musical harmonies. "All Those Girls," the lead track on Pint, was slightly stripped down and well-served by Munger's guitar work. Rather than playing the traditional lead parts, he pulled and bent at the notes underneath, deterring the audience from getting complacent during a set of mostly relaxed tunes.

Holland's demeanor fit the tone of the show perfectly; slightly self-deprecating and casually funny. She tuned up frequently during the set, using the lulls as an opportunity to pay her respects to Chicago artists Grey Gersten and Mavis Staples. During one such moment she told an amusing anecdote about meeting Lou Reed and having him express his pleasure with her dedication to being in tune. While Reed has a reputation for being a bit of a snarling prick (all due respect), Holland comes across as nothing but down to earth. She was quick to point out that a therapist friend of hers once suggested that if she ever was taking herself too seriously that she ought to listen to a Wesley Willis record.

Eventually her backing trio departed and Holland played a few songs solo, including a touching rendition of her song "Devil's Sake." The song is one that any hesitant lover can relate to, with lines like "only an angel sent from above can tell me if you're the devil or the one I should love. Where is that angel?" During the number Holland wandered from the mic to the edge of the stage and delivered the most captivating and sincere whistle solo since Guns n' Roses' "Patience." The set wound down with several covers, including a sweet stroll through Jimmie Dale Gilmore's "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown." It both fit the mood of the show and Holland's vocal abilities perfectly, leaving the crowd buzzing and applauding. The set ended with the singer paying homage to another Texan, Townes Van Zandt, with a cover of "Rex's Blues."

Jolie Holland returned to the stage for her encore to a warm applause, armed with a homemade violin. After a few attempts at a song she was clearly unfamiliar with, she apologized and placed the instrument back in its case. The crowd was not dissuaded and was rewarded with a jangly tune from her 2008 release The Living and the Dead, "Palmyra." As she sang "and I'll dance at your funeral if you dance at mine" the crowd clapped and hollered, clearly committed to dancing anywhere that her music might be playing.


Check out more show reviews:
Cibo Matto at Lincoln Hall
Local H, Hollows, Liturgy at West Fest
The Rosen Association, Chants at the Whistler
Briar Rabbit at Double Door
Jason Webley at Panchos
Not in the Face, Moon Furies, Man Your Horse at Memories

No comments:

Post a Comment