Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Jorane Live at the Knitting Factory - Hollywood

Back in May of this year I came across a unique artist by the name of Jorane. She is a cello player from Montreal who thinks she is a singer/songwriter with the artistic flair of a Kate Bush. And guess what, she’s right. For those of you thinking that a woman singing with only a cello accompanying her must be either pretentious or very boring need to see/hear Jorane. Much of her 50 minute set tonight was like any other good female singer/songwriter’s: Beautiful songs, strong melodies and a powerful voice. But, the things she can do with a cello go well beyond an acoustic guitar, the usual tool of any good singer/songwriter. With its deep tones and ability to be bowed, the cello adds textures and moods that would require a small bank of synthesizers to duplicate. Someone sitting next to me said that she has been signed to write music for Cirque du Soleil. That would make sense since her songs are so visual. Checking her website, www.jorane.com she has performed with Cirque before.

So, this was my first time in the Antiknit room at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. It’s pretty small (makes the pre-remodeled Hotel CafĂ© look big), holding less than 100 I believe. It’s not very deep though, so everyone is close to the stage. When I walked in one of the hired help said, “Looks like there are more people than we expected” (there were about 60 or 70 people) and he started unpacking chairs to put in front of the stage. I gave him a hand and unpacked one, front and center… and then sat down with my feet on the stage. :-) The sound is good, but even with 2 double doors and plenty of padding, the punk band in the other room came through during quieter moments. Jorane sang about 10 songs: 8 on cello, 1 on acoustic guitar (a Sinead O’conner cover) and 1 on electric guitar. Most of the songs were from her first American release, “The You and The Now”. When on the cello, she mixed up styles; sometimes bowing and sometimes plucking. The plucking gave it a very bluesy stand up bass sound. I loved her personality, which could best be described as: Cute, happy French girl. She thanked us many times (maybe a bit too much) and seemed really happy to be up on stage playing for us. And I loved watching her eyes. Much of the time they were closed, but then she would open them wide and with a big smile look out with excitement at the audience, and then close them again. This may be the most Kate Bush thing she does. She closed with a short story about how an interviewer could hear some Led Zeppelin in her music. Her response to him was to play a medley of “Dazed and Confused” with one of her songs. And she played it for us; with plenty of gusto. It all ended way too soon. I need to see her again.

No comments:

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen