Friday, July 16, 2010

A Lack of Soul

"It was badly done, indeed! Mr. Knightley to Emma in Jane Austen's "Emma"

"The sixties were 50 years ago. Get over it." Kate Miller Heidke, "Politics in Space"

I have seen a few artists perform in New York - Bob Dylan, Paul Kelly, Michelle Shocked, Eric Bogle, Celine Dion and a couple of others whose names I have forgotten.

A divergent group with a common trait. They all gave their all to their audience, however small.

Last night I saw Kate Miller-Heidke perform at Le Poisson Rouge in the Village, Manhattan.

I had been interested in Kate Miller Heidke for a couple of years, and had particularly liked her song, "Caught in the Crowd". I'd even bought her album - something I rarely do. Plus she's an Aussie.

And so when I saw she was to perform at Le Poisson Rouge mid-week, this week, I was keen to go. I called my friend B and we organized to meet at the Minetta Tavern at around six.

And so the evening began.

Let's skip over the bar (excellent) and Poisson Rouge (fair to middling) and get on to the performance.

Well we had about 45 minutes of Ms Miller-Heidke performing the songs she's known for - FaceBook, Last Day on Earth, Psych Killer, Politics in Space. And although the event had been promoted as featuring her new album, the new songs were barely there, or not noticeable. Or mentioned.

Yeah, she was OK. There was nothing really wrong.

Except.

Her time on stage lacked soul. It was a throw-away thing. Take it or leave it. New York, so what. My fans, so what.

I could have played my Kate Miller-Heidke album on iTunes and it would have had the same impact.

C'mon, Kate. Even Sinatra thought he'd put a bit of oomph into it when playing in New York.

Or anywhere.

What have you got that makes you so special?

"Get over it!"

13 comments:

pencilpusha said...

I agree with you, I'm from Oz as well - somehow find her so gimmicky. And she does PRECISELY the same things at every single concert, like a robot, hand moves and everything, I checked it on You Tube!

Boggy said...

No soul, perhaps?

Jaded NYer said...

Wow you were here in MY neck of the woods.
Fun in the village, isn't it?

As far as the concert, many of these artists stick to their schtick because they know it works. Got you to go didn't it?

BUT the artists that can add artistry to their live performances keep it interesting because they keep reinventing themselves, and hence put on a better show.

Perhaps if she had played Madison Square Garden instead of in a smaller more intimate venue maybe she would have put more into it.

Kathleeenwng said...

"As far as the concert, many of these artists stick to their schtick because they know it works. Got you to go didn't it?"

On the contrary - that wasn't what got me in at ll. Had I known what her performance would be like, I would not have gone.

When I saw Eric Bogle the venue was smaller than Poisson. But he still took the trouble to do more than parrot past songs.

I'm afraid she'll NEVER get to Madison Square Gardens. She doesn't have what it takes.

worldsend said...

I was really amazed at your harsh review. My wife and I were at the show along with a friend who had driven down from Maine to see it. We all thought she was great. I think there is an intended subtlety to her presentation. I really wasn't expecting Chinese acrobats to be doing tumbles over the sound guy's head. From the audience's lengthly applause I'd say they really enjoyed it also.

Robyn said...

Read CMJ Staff Blog - http://www.cmj.com/relay/
Was this a different gig?
Kate and Keir have been "on the road" for 2 months and doing different venues in different locations nearly every day, not to mention 10 hour car journeys to get there!

pencilpusha said...

@Robyn, that's pretty standard for any band these days.
I just think, you know, take away the Weird Al one-off comedy songs, and the really squeally high notes, and there's just nothing there. It's the same jokes at every single concert (it seems). And her husband seems just so uncomfortable and scared to be performing. Maybe I should just see more shows.

Jeff said...

I count 5 direct and 1 indirect reference to the fact that the writer lives in New York ... uh good for you?

I saw her in with Ben Folds at the University of Dayton Arena (Yes in the Midwest, how awful).

I have been to hundreds of shows (none of them in New York), and I have never seen an audience standing and listening with such rapt attention to an opening act. The crowd clearly wanted an encore at the end of her set.
I found her performance a bit awkward, but in an endearing way, sort of like the way Mike Birbiglia does comedy (He lives in New York)

Oh and by the way ... New York

Jaded NYer said...

Well Jeff, let me tell ya something about New York. First of all since you have never been to New York, you need to know that most New Yorkers are a pretty savvy bunch who work hard and play hard and have little tolerance for mediocrity.

When we go to a show we expect a SHOW, not a nondescript banal performance with a lack of energy and passion which clearly passes for entertainment in YOUR neck of the woods.

I bet the highlight of entertainment for you is watching the corn fields grow while picking lint out of your toes. Good luck with that. Sell tickets.
I bet where you live they call that a PARTY.

Jeff said...

Gee I'm so impressed thanks for straightening me out.

I never said that I hadn't been to New York. I saw a Rangers game in MSG, what a pit that place is. I've been to nicer Minor League arenas. Nice job there.

This year alone I've seem Ben Folds in Dayton, the 2 day Rock on the Range festival, with Godsmack and Rob Zombie in Columbus, Jeff Beck in Cincinnati, and Iron Maiden in Cleveland. I have tickets to see Disturbed and then Rush in Columbus next month. Then I'm going to Billy Idol in Dayton in September. Ok that one will suck, but the wife likes him. You have heard of all these places right? I'm not going to fast for you?

I bet when those tours hit New York, they will play a whole different show than they did here .... oh wait, no I don't.

I would be willing to bet you do just what people do all over, you go to work, you go home you watch TV. Every once in awhile you go do something fun. And then you pretend you are better than everyone else so you can feel better about your life.

Jaded NYer said...

Right.

At least I HAVE a job and don't spend every moment of my day following bands all over the road like some Grateful Deadhead wannabe groupie like you.

Jeff said...

Wow, your mature and measured argument has really struck a nerve. Are all New Yorkers as sophisticated as you?

Jaded NYer said...

You can spell sophisticated?

Post a Comment