Nasimiyu at Pianos
Nasimiyu Murumba may be from the frozen North but she sure absorbed New Orleans pretty thoroughly. Supposedly she learned songwriting there while working with brass bands and street performers. While her singing sounds a lot like those pop-soul singers who occasionally cross over into the mainstream, the jazz and funk influences she picked up make her music something special. I can't say for a fact that she has a unique blend of styles, but I can sure say that I hadn't heard anything quite like this before and really liked it.
Sweet Soubrette at Pianos
At some point in the evening I got the impression of attending an early Valentine's Day show. The overwhelming red-ness of the place may have had something to do with that, but also the fact that Sweet Soubrette's new album features so many songs about desire. Not really love songs, mind you. They were more like songs about longing (see "Be My Man", "Sweet Time") or about relationships under stress ("Just Your Heart", "Rock Paper Scissors", and perhaps "What's My Desire?"). So it wasn't really a romantic evening, though the fervent "Live Wire" certainly added a dash of heat to the mix.
It is probably safe to say that classic love songs have never been Sweet Soubrette's thing. Returning to the themes of her first album, most of the songs on "Burning City" are about the dramatic moments in relationships, the moments when things are not quite as they should be. However the new album has a definite optimistic streak. This time you get the feeling that some of those relationships might just work out. For once there is an honest-to-goodness (implied) happy ending in the song "Port in a Storm". Well that's new.
Tancred at Pianos
Apparently some fans of the artist known as Tancred came out to see her because they liked her other band, a rock band called "Now, Now". They might have been a bit surprised to see her perform solo, especially since the album has a full backing band. But I suppose there is some logic to it. The fans are excited about some new project by a musician they like and want to see it live. The artist wants to build up a separate fan base before assembling a touring band. Makes sense I suppose, though after the fact I started wondering what her long-time fans thought. Hopefully they were pleasantly surprised.
Chaos Chaos at Pianos
You know, most of the bands on this bill were rock bands. Then for something completely different we got the synthpop duo Chaos Chaos. It is pretty much just the two of them, no layers of samples or any such thing. The result is some fairly minimalist dance music. Would you be shocked to hear that they filled in at the last minute for a rock band whose singer was sick? Yeah, didn't think so.