Marian Fahey McLaughlin - It has been a while since I last saw this fascinating singer-guitarist and my vague memories are that she is somewhere near the Marissa Nadler camp. Well, close, but not quite. McLaughlin shares a great sense of storytelling and is quirky personality, but explores even dreamier terrain. She reminds me of a spacier, less trad Kay McCarthy, but is clearly ensconced in Wyrdfolk. It's not quite free folk, freak folk. or acid folk, but has that magical wyrdfolk feel where you know it when you hear it (Nicodemus, Cosmic Michael). She alternates with electric and acoustic guitar and only does a bit of looping. Heavy reverbed voice can be overdone, but is the right choice here to create a connection from song to listener. Thankfully, the soundman turned it down for the talk between songs as that can really get annoying. The guitarwork is loose and repetitive, but not droning and creates the spell necessary to offer a distinct listening environment. But I babble... I was surprised that the set lasted 33 minutes as it flew by like the fleeting dream it was. Indulge, it will do your mind good.
MV& EE - No Bummer Band, no Golden Road, just MV, EE, and a drummer. I thought they may go to a leaner folk sound with the leaner line-up, but they still maintained their classic spacey rural folk-psyche jamming sound. They may work the farm during the sunlight hours, but they are tripping out while working a SETI project at night. The female vocals of EE are the more evocative of the two. She plays guitars and lap steel and plays simple soundscape notes to enhance the spaciness. MV handles all the guitar work this time around, and I really believe he would not have handled it as well back in the early days. But now, he has a lot of folk, rock, and psyche moves and can carry the day. They were not quite as Neil Young tonight, but sounded like their Ecstatic Peace label mates, Hush Arbors. Although the medium sized crowd had a thinned a bit during their hour-long set, the remaining fans encouraged them to play one more jammer for another ten minutes. And although sometimes I duck out on encores, I was enjoying this set too much tonight. The streamlined MV & EE was a pleasant surprise and may have surpassed the sets I have seen previously in three different states.
Obit of Note: I would be remiss not mentioned the passing of Chuck Brown, a true DC legend. You can read or hear about him elsewhere with much more than I can say, but he deserves a moment or too from everyone. I was sorry to see his illness hit just before his Howard Theater show which had to be canceled. Too bad, as that would have been more the storybook ending.