Friday, 1 December 2006
After listening to Amy Millan‘s solo record, Honey from the Tombs, I was really wondering how she would present these songs in a live setting. Would she bring with here a full band with all the various instruments that you hear on the record, or would she show up by herself with an acoustic guitar and go for the stripped down approach? I was hoping for the former, and after reading a short interview in this week’s Seattle Weekly stating that she comes from a folk music background and really missed not having a mandolin in her band, I was heartened.
When Millan came on stage with her band, I was not disappointed. There were seven people onstage and a boatload of instruments. There was a pedal steel guitar, keyboard, electric mandolin, a huge stand-up bass, a trombone, electric guitars, acoustic guitars and a saw (how often do you get to hear a saw being played in an indie pop song)! Millan seemed to be in great mood and was really chatty, something she usually is not when she’s with Stars (probably because Torq does all the talking ). She made jokes about Washington wines “kicking Napa Valley’s Ass”, showed off her new shoes, and sang happy birthday to a woman who was being served a birthday cake.
She and the band sounded great, but I’m a poor judge. Millan could probably sing the ingredience to a box of ceral and I would think it sounded great. I would say she has the best voice in rock, not that it’s super strong or that she has a great range, it’s just an icy cool croon that gets me. They did most of the songs from the album, one or two covers. She did only one Stars song, a solo acoustic version of Look Up from Heart, that she stopped midway through because her new guitar was freaking her out. It sounded great nonetheless.
If you missed the show or don’t live on West Coast (this tour is only hitting Washington, Oregon, and California) you should really check out her record. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked up her record. If you haven’t heard Honey from the Tombs, your missing out on one the year’s nice surprises. There are a few Stars-like songs on it but mostly its a country and folk influence affair that is quite beguiling.
The Triple Door is hands down the best venue in Seattle to see a
rock show. The sound is perfect in a very intimate setting and there is not a bad seat in the house. Their food is decent, and not too overpriced. We had the duck, lamb satay and the Hawker Tofu, all very palatable. It falls a bit short in the coolness factor and books mostly mellow, older crowd acts, but if you see a show that peaks your interest, you should give it a go. I’ve seen Colin Meloy, the Go-Betweens, and now Amy Millan and every show has been a winner.