Tag Archives: Nic Harcourt

Damien Rice at Hotel Cafe

Damien RiceDuring the rare occasions when I consider the possibility of leaving Los Angeles, I remember experiences like Damien Rice playing at The Hotel Cafe Sunday night.  It’s a “once in a lifetime” opportunity which thankfully has happened more than once in this lifetime.

L.A. –  where you can wake up on a Sunday morning, ease into your day somewhat aimlessly, and find out that one of your favorite musicians – somebody who typically sells out much larger rooms – is playing a last-minute show, that same night, at one of your favorite and most intimate venues.

On Sunday morning, October 7th, it was announced that Damien Rice would be playing as part of Nic Harcourt‘s 88.5 KCSN Presents show at The Hotel Cafe later that night. It was the first in what is to become a monthly series hosted by Harcourt at The Hotel Cafe. It was also the first time Rice has played in Los Angeles since 2007.

Damien RiceThe show sold-out in a matter of minutes.  People who didn’t have tickets lined up 6-7 hours early in hopes additional tickets would be released at the door. People who did have tickets lined up 6-7 hours early with the goal of obtaining a prime position, close to the stage, for the standing room only event.

The evening’s openers, Kita Klane and The Lonely Wild, had an exceptionally rewarding and equally challenging job before them: opening for Damien Rice. Harcourt kicked off the evening, introducing the radio station (one of my favorites) and his new, curated, monthly concert series. He expressed his enthusiasm that Rice agreed to join the line-up, while sharing his concurrent enthusiasm about introducing the audience to two newer bands he’s passionate about. Harcourt did an amazing job of setting the tone for the evening and the audience was attentive, receptive, and engaged, during both opening performances.

The crowd’s attention to Kita Klane and The Lonely Wild is quite a testament to each band.  What was once going to be an important, yet more low-key evening, was suddenly an even higher-profile show, playing to what could have been – and in many cases would have been – a difficult audience. Kita Klane and The Lonely Wild stepped up to the challenge in a way that inferred “we’re this good all the time, not just tonight.”

Damien RiceThe spectacular evening was also a testament to the crowd.  Rice’s fans appreciate music. They listen. They dance, laugh, clap, and cheer, when appropriate. They trust the venue and the evening’s curator to present shows that will be of the highest quality.  Their expectations are high, as is their confidence that expectations will be met.

Rice began with “Delicate” and concluded with “Volcano”, complete with a crowd sing-along, in the round.  Everything in between was as exceptional. Rice’s voice is impeccable, his songs honest.

Rice guided the audience through his set, describing the various stages of his failed relationships, the resulting introspection, and the songs that emerged in the end. He sang with eyes closed most of the time, but opened them each time he belted, “I remember it well. . . ”

Damien RiceHis honesty and humor shared the stage with his music.  Introducing “The Professor & La Fille Danse,” Rice asked the crowd to imagine if, when they were younger, someone gave them a million dollars every day, along with the advice, “do good with it.”  Then, the next day they show up to give you another million dollars, and so on, for the rest of your life.  ”Well, we are given a million sperm each day,” he said, adding that this is the root of failed relationships. Later, endearingly labeling himself an “asshole,” Rice debuted a new song, “Greatest Bastard”.

What happens when Rice sings – and consider this your warning – is he unsuspectingly draws you in with his exquisite voice. Then, you’re enveloped in the story and you begin to feel what he’s experiencing. The pain is mitigated by his voice, his sense of humor about it all, and the drink in your hand. As Rice sings, and the songs build, you realize you’re fucked.  Welcome to Damien’s world.

His relationships may fail, but his shows are always a success.

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

Damien Rice

 

Damien Rice

 

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Laura Marling at The Hotel Cafe

Laura MarlingFor a person so beyond their years in sheer talent, chronological age can be rather insignificant.  In Laura Marling‘s case, her age is relevant only in that she can now enjoy a glass of wine on stage. Long-time fans have experienced this coming-of-age with Marling, surely the most noticeable change between tours. The quality of her voice and the content of her songs maintain their excellency.

The crowd was captivated as Marling delivered a beautiful set at Hotel Cafe Sunday night. As she tuned her guitar between songs, the room remained silent.  ”My father dreads coming to my shows. He just can’t believe I don’t do more to make everyone feel comfortable,”  Marling said.

One of the unique things about a Laura Marling show is precisely that – these moments between songs, their silence further punctuating the songs themselves.  Perhaps the reason her father noticed is because it’s rare - the uncomfortable silences as everyone hangs on whatever it is Marling may do next – tune her guitar, critique her wardrobe, or offer additional insight about a song. The crowd doesn’t stir, fidget with their cell phones, nor move to the bar for a drink. They are spellbound.

Laura MarlingAt one point, Marling mentioned that she was a bit nervous about the transparency of her dress. “My mom always said to wear matching underwear in case you get hit by a bus. . . but she didn’t say anything about standing in a room full of people in a see-through dress.”

Marling played for just over an hour.  As she made her way toward the end of the set, Marling explained that she doesn’t do encores, joking it’s one way she avoids awkward, self-conscious moments. I can tell you about the silences and stillness between songs, but her performance and the songs themselves are something you should experience first-hand.

http://www.lauramarling.com/tour/

Laura Marling

 

Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Laura Marling

 

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