Feist first came to my attention as a part of the Canadian on stage musical village otherwise known as Broken Social Scene. I wasn’t really aware of her solo output until I noticed 1-2-3-4 getting a lot of airplay on American MTV when I was over there last October. Instantly intrigued by this catchy off-beat song and the funny choreographed video that accompanies it, I started to listen to more of her music.

 

Her slightly husky voice and occasionally jazzy influences automatically get her mentioned along with artists like Norah Jones and Sia, a group I like to refer to as The Starbucks Ladies. Although some of her work is indeed quite mellow, innocuous and suitable as musical tapestry to your tall macchiato consumption, there’s more to Feist than that.

 

She definitely proved she packs more punch at her concert in Paradiso last Saturday. First off, the visual aspect of her performance deserves mention. She used a silk screen and lighting to create some interesting shadow play at several moments in the show. Throughout the whole performance there was live art being made in a corner on stage and projected above the musicians, which definitely gave the music an extra dimension. Some of the visual effects where quite stunning considering the simple way in which they were achieved.

For me, seeing the songs performed live made me appreciate them much more than I previously had. Leslie Feist is very charming and an excellent singer, her band was good and gave the songs more weight and oomph.

 

Standout songs for me included My Moon My Man (personal favourite), Mushaboom (precious little song), Honey Honey (a song I would always skip on cd, but really came alive on stage, particularly because of the clever way she recorded and looped her own voice live as background vocals), I Feel It All (just a great toe-tapper of a song), When I Was A Young Girl (nice handclap rhythm), The Water (beautifully created visuals of a boat at sea) and last but most certainly not least, a stellar performance of Nina Simone’s Sea Lion Woman that had everyone dancing and clapping.

 

Feist’s little chatty intermezzo’s were well received. She confessed to the audience how she had once missed a gig in Paradiso thanks to the effects of a hash brownie consumed earlier that day and had been ashamed of it for years. She also got everyone to sing a certain note depending on which sentence applied to you (“if you own a bicycle sing aaaahhhhhhhh, if you live within sight of water sing aahhhhhhhh” and so on), which got a lot of laughs when someone up on the balcony really went for the high note that went with “if you’re from the Southern hemisphere”.

 

All in all it was a pleasant surprise of a concert as far as I’m concerned. My only critical note would be that she seemed to be playing quite safe, there were no raw moments or rough edges to be found.

 

Watch a clip of Sea Lion Woman from last Saturday (thanks to frookypooky):

 

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