Volume: Sarah Jaffe/Bosque Brown/We’re Not Dudes – Lola’s Saloon – Fort Worth, TX 01/22/2011

Sarah Jaffe owned Lola's with her performance this past Saturday night.

I remember watching a Pink Floyd documentary many many years ago. They were discussing the success of Dark Side of the Moon and in particular, the popularity of the single “Money”. It was during this time they became unable to play the types of shows they liked to play, as the crowds had become more raucous and rowdy, shouting for their big hit. Evidently at this point in their career, they could play very intricate, dynamic pieces and had a captive crowd that could hear a pin drop, but were unable to do so anymore: “Money” had changed that for them.

Saturday night, I was reminded of this story by a pocket of people next to me as the tremendously fantastic Sarah Jaffe was in the midst of her riveting live show. Fortunately, I could tune them out a bit, but was still able to, clear as day, unnecessarily hear their entire conversation about the Coneheads movie, “Tainted Love”, and the fact that one girl had already heard the song she wanted to hear, which I suspect was the popular “Clementine”. So to the people standing near the end of the bar, and blocking the women’s restroom, thanks for your consideration. Especially to the one girl, who, when one of the guys with you said “Everyone can hear you”, threw up a rock sign and shrieked “Woooooooooo!!!”

Although there were a couple of pockets of people being unnecessarily loud, the majority of the sold out crowd was respectful, undeterred in their enjoyment of the show. As great as last year’s Suburban Nature album is, it could not prepare me for Sarah Jaffe live. At once strong and delicate, humble yet commanding, Ms. Jaffe led her band through a mixed set of album tracks including “Vulnerable”, “Clementine”, “Summer Begs”, and “Pretender”, and unreleased material begging for a studio. I was happy hearing the songs I knew, but was almost more interested in the spectrum contained in the newer material (which is a rarity), piquing my interest in the next album even more.

But if her live show was one nice surprise her album cannot prepare you for, her vocal prowess was another. Where Suburban Nature does display that Jaffe can sing, it does not translate how massive her pipes are. There is a lot of restrained power in there, waiting to be unleashed, not unlike a Neko Case, k.d. lang or Natalie Merchant. This is clearly a woman with an arsenal of talent that has barely scratched the surface, her future promising big giant things.

Opening the show was the School of Rock in East Dallas student band We’re Not Dudes, an all girl act with ages ranging from 13-8 years old, regaling the crowd with their repertoire of fun sing-along covers, and Bosque Brown who, unfortunately (for me) played seated and I never even SAW the band once inside the door of the club. I’ve wanted to see them for years, and I can tell you their set was fantastic as well, even if I had zero sightline on them.

I wish there were more seated venues in use today – this show (and its energy), was barely able to fit in Lola’s. Next time I hope for a different setting. And by different I mean seated, not only for the patrons, for the music and the musicians making it. Please.

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~ by thesynaptic on January 24, 2011.

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