Last night’s Kathleen Edwards show, based on my listening to all four of her albums at work during the day — well, I was a little afraid I was going to be the girl in the front of the audience honking and snotting and weeping all over the place. I was not! That is because when I started honking and weeping, I fled the front of the stage and went to the back of the Cradle, where I curled up on the couch and quietly wept my way through the rest of the set — the plaintive, slowed down solo version of “Hockey Skates”, the fierce and full of fuck-you fight “Change the Sheets” — instead of frightening all my fellow audience members by losing my crap spectacularly in a very obvious spot.
I wish I could remember who turned me on to Kathleen to begin with; it could have been Pam, or it could have been someone on LJ, or it could have been one of the folkie-oriented Carls back in my Chicago days. I know it wasn’t J., but he re-introduced me to her in 2009 and that’s when I really fell in love with Asking for Flowers. Pam, however, is the one who pushed me to go to this show, and oh, I am so grateful. Kathleen is a force and wonder live, a slight woman with a huge presence and a voice that’s even bigger; it was the best I’ve heard the Cradle sound since the renovation. She played through most of Voyageur, and I loved it so much more live, wilder and more free, than I do on the record. (I like the record, I love the songs, I just don’t love the record.)
And, to my surprise and to my surprised delight, Justin Vernon was with her last night — when he appeared to do the title track from last year’s “Wapusk” 7″ and the shiver-inducing “Change the Sheets”, the crowd at the Cradle was startled and ecstatic and completely on board with it, and so was I. Vernon is a staggeringly good guitarist, and he fits seemlessly into Kathleen’s band. He made her already excellent band better, and his rapport on stage with Kathleen was exhilirating. I assumed that he’d been touring with her since they went out for Voyageur and they’d kept it a secret well-unshared, but Pam told me that wasn’t true, so regardless of whether or not I like his music, I loved him last night with Kathleen, I told him so after the show, and I feel honored and thrilled that I got to see something that isn’t, apparently, an every night thing.
I was rent open and put back together by Kathleen’s show last night; she is so lovely, and her songwriting, oh, her songwriting and the way she sings them, and I heard “Asking for Flowers” and that was all I really wanted, asking for flowers is like asking you to be nice, and it was everything I wanted and more.
More photos, including shots of Hannah Georgas, who was excellent, here, and if you avoid Flickr, Speakers in Code will have a gallery up shortly.
And muchas gracias to Jason from SiC and Asha from Vagrant for hooking me up with a photo pass; I didn’t even know there was a photo ban until my buddy Holden told me halfway through the show! I just waltzed in and took photos. I am a jerk, you guys.