Feisty Canadian Steals Hearts and Minds of Austinites

It was a beautiful, semi starry night – just right to attend a performance at Stubb’s BBQFeist appeared on stage a little after 9pm.  She performed her first number, backlit, behind a white screen.

The venue was packed with Austin’s typical assortment of people.  The crowd was polite and the mood was mellow.  There was a strict ban at the door of “professional rigs” (cameras with removable lenses and flashes) but there was plenty of picture taking going on further up by the stage.

Leslie Feist’s voice is beautiful – whispery, and a little rough around the edges, but strong.  Her voice is emotional without being whiny.   She looks like she’s about 5’6’’ and barley 100lbs soaking wet. It was pretty dramatic to see her heft up her big red Starfire guitar.

Musically what stood out were the little bits of trumpet in the songs.  The trumpet provides a good pairing for her voice.  The additions of the horn were natural and dramatic without it seeming that she was trying too hard to sound different.  (The word around Austin is that Brett Daniels of Spoon produced the hit album The Reminder and it showed in the addition of the trumpet.) Visually what stood out was the shadow-play lightshow that was going on above the stage.  It was a perfect match for the singer’s voice: simple and dynamic.

There was something that was tugging at my mind during the show – her sound reminded me of something I had heard before.  Her voice is pretty but that isn’t what makes her successful.  It’s her lyrics and the way that she instinctively makes her songs sound different than the rest of what is on the airwaves. What was lingering in the back of my mind finally drifted forward:  “… long and lean and tan and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking….”  Feist’s singing voice reminds me of Astrud Gilberto’s timeless “The Girl from Ipanema”.

It was a great show.  At one point she bent down and reached into the crowd, coming back up with a cell phone. (Iphone?  There were lots flashing at the show, as if they were magnetically drawn to the show by the siren song of “1234” which introduced the Nano last year in Apple’s tv spots.)  Apparently some young thing was chatting on her phone while Feist was singing.  That didn’t go over well.  Feist spoke into the phone, asking asked who was on the other end and was promptly hung up on.  Feist handed the phone back and asked the user not to talk on the phone during the performance.  Just like a feisty girl from Alberta.

Spunky, artsy Feist was a big hit at Stubb’s.  I’m adding The Reminder to my collection.  Not because it’s catchy and pop but because I think we have more to hear from Canadian Leslie Feist.

Concert Tips:

Stubb’s is serious about the no flash photography policy.  Don’t take a camera with a removable lens or flash otherwise you risk having it stolen from your car.

TicketCity  was a great source for the tickets to the show.  Conveniently located on 2222 and Mopac, their staff is efficient, courteous, and knowledgeable about venues.

Plenty of comfortable standing room is up the hill near the entrance to the venue.  The further down the slope you go the more crowded it gets.

Arrive early and have dinner at Stubb’s or one of the other restaurants.

Be mindful of where you park.  If you park in a paid lot ask when the attendant is leaving.