Sunday, June 12, 2016

Beth Orton - Emmy the Great -- U Street Music Hall - Jun 11 2016

Emmy the Great - This talented performer from London via Hong Kong says she really likes DC and has backed it up with several fine performances in recent years. I saw her just this past February and enjoyed the set. This time around it was an opening gig, so it was handled solo. While I missed the trio, Emmy's music is stark with plenty of space for vocals to occupy beyond any instrumentation. She used both synth/keyboards and lightly spacey electric guitar strumming to create the atmosphere for her songs. She even included the first song she ever wrote, which had some laughs at the audacious in your face lyrical quality. She is a likable performer and a fine stylist and DC clearly likes her back.
Beth Orton - Completing the London show tonight is Beth Orton, a folktronica sort of artist that has done extremely well in Europe and commands a reasonably strong presence here in the US as well. Although not a huge crowd tonight, it is packed up front with some serious fans. Orton has two musicians that play a combination of drums, bass, and keyboards. She starts on electronic sounds and the first few songs are decent, but stray more to a mysterious pop rock sound. Her vocals are always compelling, so it is effective, but not drawing me in as much as her recent excellent album. Then she strapped on an acoustic guitar and the set became more magical. The folk element was there and the band assisted in going a bit folktronica here, a bit psychedelic there, or offering a steady folk rock foundation for Orton's dynamic lyrics and voice. She even played solo as well, so there was a lot of variety in this set. I can't complain about that, even if I have my favorite songs and styles. It was nice to finally catch a set from this talented artist.

Photo Grab of the Night: Since this is an English show, here's a photo of what an Oxfam Charity Donation Center did with the overrun of donated copies of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'.

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