concerts: shannon o’connor @ cat’s cradle

shannon d o'connor @ cat's cradle backroom

shannon d o'connor @ cat's cradle backroom

I met Shannon O’Connor when she was stomping on PBR cans in the Cradle parking lot during Merge 25, so I knew I was going to like her from the start, because, come on, why not? We then discussed my camera and her CD release show, so I knew I was going to like her even more because I love someone who self-promotes the hell out of themselves, and also someone who lets me talk about my work.

But let’s start with my favorite track off Shannon’s record: “Wedenesday’s Child”. This is funny because the night before this show, on a Wednesday, Trav and I were contemplating the old rhyme this comes from. I was born on a Tuesday, full of grace, which I am not in any way. We went through the birthdays of our closest friends, estimating whose day of birth reflected them and whose didn’t. Kismet, serendipity. I didn’t know Shannon would sing this song the next night, but she did, and I laughed, and then I cried a little because it’s not really a great show if I don’t cry a little. Shannon’s record is really excellent — I can’t wait to write about her lyrics — and the band she’s got backing her right now, mostly made up of fellow teachers like her, is stellar. I had never seen her pedal steel player before tonight (and you guys know how I feel about pedal steel) and he was outstanding, and of course cellist Josh Starmer is always stellar, and add a great

melissa swingle @ cat's cradle backroom

melissa swingle @ cat's cradle backroom

I’ve been cozying up to the bar at the 506 as long as Melissa Swingle has been tending it, and while I’ve also made good time with the Moaners records, until last night I’d never seen her play solo, live, and she about blew my tiny little brain. Melissa’s songwriting, her guitar playing, the huge amount of sound she made on stage with just her and an instrument — absolutely staggering. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t stand around with my mouth hanging open while she was playing, but I can’t be sure, and that’s definitely how I felt during her set. And, come on, you guys: I mean, you all know I love Melissa anyway, but a song about zombies where she looped her guitar so she could lay an incredibly haunting saw line over it? Done. The end. My favorite forever.

Full set is here.

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