Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Kathleen Edwards Live at the Knitting Factory Hollywood

A little rain and suddenly the freeways are a parking lot? It took 2.5 hours to get to Hollywood last night (it should take about an hour with traffic). Luckily I had no doubts about seeing a good show. The only issue was whether we were going to see a show at all. Since I’ve never been to the Knitting Factory I had no idea what their version of 8pm meant. Luckily for us, it meant 9:40. We missed the opening act, but at least didn’t have to wait long for the show since we stepped into KF at 9:20.

The Knitting Factory is a very unique place in Hollywood. There are 3 stages and all three were going on at once last night. As long as the music doesn’t get too quiet and no one goes through one of the back doors (I believe only staff can go through those) during a song, life is good. The soundproofing is impressive. As for the sound quality, I was very impressed. Not perfectly clean, but clean enough for rock and roll. The acoustics are very good also. I actually traded a few words back and forth with Kathleen during the show and I was a good 20 feet from the stage. Normally, even 5 feet away doesn’t guarantee they will hear you. The only negative, besides very few seats, is a low stage and a short performer. It’s maybe 3 feet high. Another 2 feet would have been great. From 20 feet back we were straining just to see her face. And of course, the tallest guy in the audience is right up front and right in the middle. Oh well.

So, the last time we saw Kathleen Edwards was Easter weekend 2 years ago. Kathleen reminisced about that show late in her show; remembering that there were only about 30 people in the audience and some fell asleep. The reality was that it was a midnight show and she played till well after 1am, there were close to a hundred people there, and only one person fell asleep. It was a very vocal crowd that night, with Kathleen trading barbs with a drunken woman and even recommending a change in sexual preference to her. It was all very relaxed and fun. And then she would kick into one of her songs and it all got very serious. It was one of my favorite performances of the year.

Last night was a more focused Kathleen, with her only briefly talking to the crowd until late in the show. Of course, she’s got that great “I’ve been hanging in pool halls/cowboy bars/ for ever” attitude, so when she does say something, its pretty funny and right to the point. She has no problem telling anyone where the f*ck to go.

Okay, back to the music. The show focused heavily on her new CD with only about 3 songs from “Failer” being played. This meant a more rockin’ affair. Many of the songs end with Kathleen pounding on her acoustic guitar while her guitar player is playing classic lead or slide lead guitar. With this jangling distorted rock it was fitting that she closed the night with a Neil Young song, “Unknown Legend”. But there were also a few moments of soft anguish (especially at the end as she sang with just her guitar and someone opened a door from one of the other stages… Oh, that look could kill). She covered a Gram Parsons song about half way through the set (the one that didn’t make it onto the tribute DVD which I understand was released this week) that was so beautiful. I suppose a beautiful Gram Parsons song is a redundant term. Overall, Kathleen Edwards continues to impress in concert. Whether she is rocking hard, or making you want to cry, as my friend Blair said 2 years ago, “She’s the real thing”. Below is the song list, based on her set list (It doesn’t include the encore or Gram’s Song).

Pink Emerson Radio
In State
Independent Thief
Summer long
Copied Keys
Hockey Skates
Six O’Clock News
What Are You Waiting For?
Good Things
Back To Me

There were at least 4 other songs not on the set list. She played for about an hour and twenty minutes. Her web site for anyone who is interested is: .


Anonymous said...

Nice review. I'm sorry...I was the tallest guy in the place in the front row....
Kathleen added the song 'Westby' before 'Back to Me'. When I saw the set list before Kathleen came out, I mentioned to the guy next to me that I was disappointed it wasn't on the list and he agreed that it was his favorite song. After a few songs, I told Kathleen the guy next to me was named Westby and he travelled 4 1/2 hours to see her. The guy next to me was NOT Westby and it was me who travelled 4 1/2 hours (should have been 1 1/2). When Westby started up, I got a 'high five' from my neighbor.
The encore was awesome, ending with Jim Bryson's 'Somewhere Else'.

You are quite right, Kathleen is the real deal. I'm so impressed with her writing at such a young age. And her band kicks ass especially her husband on lead and slide guitar.

Anonymous said...

I was there, too, and hell yes, Kathleen and the band kicked ass. I was caught off-guard by this; I'd never seen her live, though I'd heard a few bootleg tracks, and they weren't that impressive. I didn't expect a show as blow-down-the-doors excellent as this one.

Best moments, I think, were Jim Bryson striking his 'Van Halen divebomb' twang on "Mercury," and Kathleen getting right up in Colin's face, almost daring him to rock harder. And there was one moment -- did anybody else notice this? -- where I swear she was staring at him lustily, only a split second from jumping him right there on stage, guitars be damned.

A kickass show. Only major disappointment was the opening act, who had a good voice but wrote shitty lyrics. (Though she was a great harmony for Kathleen on that Parsons tune.)

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