I went to the Doug Fir last night to see Erin McKeown sing.
I had never seen a show at the Doug Fir before, so I wasn’t really prepared for the hipster log cabin feel of the place. Add to that, the opening act really drove home the Twin Peaks vibe. The singer, Eleni Mandell, had a quiet haunting voice, and the electric guitar player used lots of echo to achieve an effect that would have made Angelo Badalamenti smile. Really, I was waiting for a dwarf to come out on stage and dance during some songs.
But I’m not complaining; I really enjoyed it. The stand-up bass player in particular was really fun to watch, swinging from plucking a driving beat, sometimes picking up the bow to add to the creepy feel of some songs, and slapping time on the fret board during some of the more energetic bits.
If anything, Eleni reminded me a lot of early Erin McKeown; a very quiet, introspective singer-songwriter with folksy roots. But the Erin of today is a very different performer, very high energy, bouncy, and an undeniable rockabilly sound. Her sense of humor comes through in a playful fashion on stage now. I was introduced to Erin via my pal Anita, who heard her open for Mike Doughty. Anita is down in SF currently, and saw Erin play just two days ago. And then at tonight’s show, who should show up but Anita’s brother Ed and his gal pal Jill (the Thrill). Ed’s in school down in Corvalis, and he and JtT decided to come up to see the show on Anita’s recommendation. So they sat with us during Erin’s set and seemed to enjoy the show.
I’m only irritated that I forgot to bring the camera. I had a great view of the stage and could have gotten some memorable shots. Sigh. Next time.