Friday, September 25, 2009

Concert Review: Basia Bulat at St. James Hall

My musical weekend began Wednesday night in Vancouver with Basia Bulat's show at St. James Hall. She also played last night at Metro Theatre in Victoria.

2009 Polaris long-listed Woodpigeon opened. He had a lovely high voice which contrasted his low speaking voice. That voice floated over some nifty electric guitar-picking. He sounded hesitant and nervous throughout a good chunk of the set, and combined with the hot and stuffy atmosphere in St. James, made it difficult to stay awake, much less concentrate, unfortunately. He did cover Lay All Your Love On Me by ABBA; along with a song complemented by an audience member (?)'s soaring harmonies, those were the highlights of his set for this reviewer.

Those of you who have seen Basia live (or if you haven't yet-- you should!) surely remember being surprised at her small frame and her large voice. Her warble-y, occasionally breathy yet strong voice convey at once strength and vulnerability, intimacy but enough force to blow the roof off of wherever she may be playing.

She also has a way of making the crowd fall in love with her instantly, as was the case Wednesday when she mentioned that the audience is not at the "stage in our relationship" yet to see her in her glasses, which she was wearing.

Basia plays music to dance to, such as the waltz-able The Pilgriming Vine, and she herself sways her dress to and fro, stomping her boots while strumming her guitar or autoharp.

Basia Bulat has a new album coming out in the new year (January 26th) called Heart of My Own. Many of the songs she played Wednesday night were from the upcoming LP. The set list for that night is to the right.

Go to Basia's website for a free download of a track off her upcoming album called Gold Rush.