Classical Indie

Joanna Newsom at the Showbox, Seattle | 4 December 2006

Joanna Newsom in the clouds

A Few things about the show last night…

  1. I wasn’t sure how long a harp could hold my interest, but man if it didn’t.
  2. After opening with a few songs of just her + harp, she was joined by her band to play the new record in it’s entirety. During the first song, Emily you could hear a pin drop in the Showbox. Everyone seemed to be simply mesmerized by the sound coming from the stage.
  3. That voice…is a bit too much on Ys, If you ask me. I don’t think Steve Albini was the best choice to record her. Too much quirkiness is captured in her voice on record, almost as if it was intentional to make her voice difficult to appreciate . Live, her voice was much smoother, as if she forgot to add in all of the yelps and squeaks, and the songs were much better because of it.
  4. As my friend Mike pointed out, who new you could replace and entire string section with an accordion? Actually she had 5 other musicians with her to recreate the Ys sound.
  5. Bjork has got nothing on Joanna Newsom. Actually if Bjork played the harp, you might not be able to tell the two apart.
  6. This would have been a great sit down show! If her popularity continues on its current trajectory, I may get my wish.
  7. I can’t believe I got to see someone play the saw twice within four days. Amy Millan now Joanna Newsom, the next thing I know Pitchfork will be giving a 8.9 to some record by an indie rock saw player.
  8. The show was sold out, not bad for a harp player that writes 15 minute songs with no choruses.
  9. Opener Smog/Bill Callahan has a cool, smokey, gunslinger kind of a voice. I just have never been able to get into his stuff. His performance tonight was good, but didn’t make me convert.
  10. She came back out and performed solo for her encore. Peach, Plum, Pear astonished me with her playing both bass and guitar with the harp, and oh yeah she sang at the same time too.


  1. Desiree · December 6, 2006

    Oh, rub it in, why don’t you; I’m so jealous! Her CDs have been in constant rotation at my place, but the Portland show sold out before I got my ticket (my fault for being slow to commit to being out late on a Sunday night.) Sigh. At least I have Devotchka to look forward to on Friday…

  2. Toby · December 7, 2006

    Maybe she’ll come back this way next year. The current tour is only hitting the west. Or you could run down to San Diego and see her at the insanely small Casbah.

    Friday, December 8
    Minneapolis, MN
    400 Bar
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Saturday, December 9
    Madison, WI
    Great Hall – Memorial Union
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Sunday, December 10
    Lawrence, KS
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Monday, December 11
    Norman, OK
    Meacham Theater – University of Oklahoma
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Tuesday, December 12
    Houston, TX
    Orange Show
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Wednesday, December 13
    Austin, TX
    The Parish
    (w/ Bill Callahan)

    Thursday, December 14
    Marfa, TX
    Ballroom Marfa

    Friday, December 15
    Albuquerque, NM

    Sunday, December 17
    San Diego, CA

    Tuesday & Wednesday, December 19 & 20
    San Francisco, CA
    Great American Music Hall

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