Briana Marela - Careful layering of female vocals begins this set before the electronica fills out the atmosphere and the drums lay down the anchor. The two vocalists sharpen the mood into more of a pop structure. Yet as the set progresses there is a mix of atmosphere morphing into songs throughout. The drummer moves forward to work some electronic parts and adds several subtle steel drum parts which creates a watery sound and lets the music really flow. There is good attention to detail here and this turned out to be a lovely, well received opening set.
Jenny Hval - I've enjoyed many performances from this talented and creative Norwegian singer over the years. I cared a bit less for her daring recent album, although I respected the attempt. I had hoped it would be more interesting live and it was all of that, although it still requires a fully opened mind. Hval begins on the floor of the stage spurting out vocal bursts as an electronica guy works the table behind her. As she rises, two women in platinum wigs come out to move about the stage more than actually dance. It was theatrical and added to the edginess of the music. Hval varied from stretched out words to piercing highs covering more range than you would expect. This is more Scott Walker than Kate Bush, and with the intensity and backing reminded me of an even more stripped down Suicide. She indeed was bleeding music all over the floor as she accurately described it. Quite odd: appreciated by some, perhaps less by others (although they may have had a Metro train to catch). I was in the right mood for it so it worked for me as I have been away from the clubs for quite a few nights now. This was quite the welcome back.
Quote of the Night: Hval... "My name is usually Jenny, but tonight I think it's Carrie."