Posted in music | pictures on February 1, 2008

photos by Jonny Leatherv

Joanna newsom @ BAM

I went through a period of serious Joanna Newsom obsession. Then, I'm not totally sure what happened. I couldn't get into her last album, I didn't like seeing her play outside at McCarren Pool, and of course there was that stupid fur hat. Well, after last night's part-orchestral show at BAM in Brooklyn (Jan 31, 2008), all is forgiven.

The show was split in half by by an intermission. The first half of the show (the black dress half) was Joanna with full orchestra. The second half (the pink dress half) was Joanna and 3-piece band. I definitely never saw her play with an orchestra before, and I'm pretty sure it was the first time I even saw her play with more than just one person occasionaly accompanying her. She had a drummer, banjo player, and violin player in her non-orchestra band, and all of them were playing so good together, and singing backup .....I loved it.

Joanna newsom @ BAM

The Brooklyn Philharmonic Crchestra was great too, but it is the parts without them that stand out most in my mind - Joanna just being Joanna...singing the songs I love most....in a concert hall...with drums. The orchestra only played songs from the new album I think - songs arranged by Van Dyke Parks. The second half was mostly older stuff, and two completely new songs. Then for the encore she didn't play harp, or with a band, but instead stood and sang with her old friend what's-his-name accompanying her on banjo.

Being seated in a concert hall, with those acoustics, and a great band, and hearing those songs....it brought back all the good feelings I used to have listening to the The Milk-Eyed Mender over and over and over and over. I didn't want the show to end. I think I may be obsessed again. More pictures below....

Joanna newsom @ BAM

Joanna newsom @ BAM

Joanna newsom @ BAM

Andy Samberg was spotted.

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Comments (59)

Show was unbelievable. Wow. She's incredible. I could have done without the five minutes on Barack Obama, but otherwise, great performance.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:06 AM

andy samberg was with amy poehler and seth meyers. this was an awesome show.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:06 AM

the orchestral part was one of the most moving concerts i've ever seen/ heard. the guy in front of me was sobbing....

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:11 AM

The show was unbelievably amazing. I think I had an outer body experience at several points and just looking around in the audience you could see people visibly moved and minds blown.

The whole experience felt really special, perhaps like it might have felt to see dylan in his prime.

Beg, borrow or steal to go to this show tonight.

Posted by poplar | February 1, 2008 11:18 AM

the show was indeed incredible, although i can't disagree with you more about her playing of the entire Ys album in the first half. those songs are some of the most moving pieces i've heard and upon hearing them live with the orchestra i cried during at least 3. it was icing on the cake to hear her playing virtually all of my faves from Milk-Eyed Mender. the addition of the band, as well as her strikingly increased vocal power and control (at least since the albums - i've never seen her live), lent a mature and developed sound to the music. for me, that allowed the music to shed the almost-kitschy (albeit the extremely endearing) childishness and innocence that, while beautiful in its own way and part of the reason i got hooked on joanna newsom to begin with, at times masked her music's intrinsic legitimacy as amazing music qua amazing music.

finally, i agree with the comment about being able to do without the obama speak. i have nothing against obama at all, but given that the few substantive points made seemed self-conscious afterthoughts, it seemed a little like showing off and out of place. it came close to breaking the mood for me. frankly, i don't care what most young musicians think about politics. all that being said, there was also a sense that he felt he was doing something important by mentioning it and that was heartwarming.

Posted by kat | February 1, 2008 11:32 AM

ticket says 8. did she start right at 8?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:32 AM

david byrne was there as well.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:32 AM

she started around 8:10 or 8:15

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:34 AM

she started around 8:10 or 8:15

Posted by kat | February 1, 2008 11:34 AM

i'm so pissed i missed this, between joanna and vampire weekend i've just missed out totally this week...i suck

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:39 AM

Show started at 8:20. She played until about 9:25 and broken until 9:45. She then played until about 10:35.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:46 AM

right on kat. Hearing all of Ys was monumental. I'm much more into the Ys material than her other stuff. There's something about the songs on Ys that make them much more than songs. And her voice and playing were so honed. How the hell does she do both at the same time?? That one part of monkey and bear was captivating . . .

God, when she got all flaming lippy with the political stuff . . .it's one thing if you're outright making political art, but other than that its disrespectful to your fans to be so brazen, especially without making any worthwhile arguments besides "he's the first candidate of the world" or something. Very distracting.

Posted by Yes | February 1, 2008 11:48 AM

Van Dyke parks didn't compose the songs on Ys, Joanna did. Come on! He orchestrated it with her after the songs were written.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:50 AM

Is it just me, or does anyone else find her voice extremely whiny and annoying and doesn't understand what all the buzz is about? maybe it's just me. I can hardly listen to her music, even though I enjoy that genre.

Posted by Not-A-Fan | February 1, 2008 11:52 AM

Hey Not-A-Fan:

What genre are you talking about? The Indie Harp genre?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:58 AM

"Van Dyke parks didn't compose the songs on Ys, Joanna did. He orchestrated it with her after the songs were written."

oops, that's what I meant. just used the wrong word. fixed, thanks.

Posted by brooklynvegan | February 1, 2008 12:15 PM

meh
i'll never get her


she moves me to take a dump

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 12:19 PM

Anyone know the title of the last song she played? The Karen Dalton piece?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 12:21 PM

this show made me feel like all the other indie pop music i (/we) listen to is total crap. also the drummer (who did a wonderful job, btw) almost ruined the show with his political comments, which were more childish admiration than political opinion.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 12:42 PM

banjo guy looks like fred armisen with a wig. no?

Posted by roy | February 1, 2008 12:42 PM

BV, Van Dyke did NOT compose Ys. It was totally Joanna. It's written on the credits.

Posted by Eduardo | February 1, 2008 12:57 PM

"What's his name" with the banjo has a name, it is KEVIN BARKER, who has his own band called Currituck Co. and has played with Vetiver, Antony & the Johnsons, and just played with Feist on SNL as as well. He is a talented dude.

Posted by littlemouth | February 1, 2008 1:07 PM

"What's his name" with the banjo has a name, it is KEVIN BARKER, who has his own band called Currituck Co. and has played with Vetiver, Antony & the Johnsons, and just played with Feist on SNL as as well. He is a talented dude.

Posted by littlemouth | February 1, 2008 1:07 PM

"What's his name" with the banjo has a name, it is KEVIN BARKER, who has his own band called Currituck Co. and has played with Vetiver, Antony & the Johnsons, and just played with Feist on SNL as as well. He is a talented dude.

Posted by littlemouth | February 1, 2008 1:08 PM

Say that three times fast.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 1:17 PM

I have seen several people commenting on what time Joanna went on. I work with Brooklyn Philharmonic and unless there are long ticket lines (like last night) Joanna will go on right at 8. I suggest you get to BAM by 7:30 or you could risk being held in the lobby. BAM does not allow seating during songs, and its not worth it to miss a second of the show.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 1:33 PM

That show just saved me a lot of money, because I don't need to go see anything else ever again after that. My mind is officially blown.

I originally never really quite got into the "Ys" album, but the performance of those pieces last night was just amazing.

She has taken some of "the hills" quality out of her voice (as Kat referred to), and she just sounded beautiful. Everybody played beautifully. The audience was great.

I'm going to have "Colleen" running through my head for a week.

Posted by B | February 1, 2008 1:41 PM

If anybody has links to any reviews, I'd appreciate a post. (curious)

Posted by B | February 1, 2008 1:48 PM

kat,


you summed up my thoughts perfectly. y's was just amazing.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 1:50 PM

so amazing. can't say more than that about it. also spotted jim white from dirty three/cat power's current band.

Posted by jed | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM

The encore was Same Old Man which is on Karen Dalton's In My Own Time album and was reissued recently. I'm listening to it right now.

Posted by Alex | February 1, 2008 2:11 PM

B,
I wrote a review for NY Press. Link below
http://www.nypress.com/blogx/display_blog.cfm?bid=79222921

NY Magazine has one posted already too

Posted by jonny leather | February 1, 2008 2:14 PM

this show was great. somehow found out the extra show about the night before and got orchestra seats-ROW N! Better seats than the SNL people

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 2:46 PM

Also spotted Annie Clark (St. Vincent).

What an amazing performance. And what a dress!

And who doesn't love Obama?!

Posted by Nate | February 1, 2008 2:59 PM

so what was the name of the Karen Dalton piece?

What a beautiful night!

Posted by Marinara | February 1, 2008 3:04 PM

Yeah, I saw Annie Clark too.

Posted by Eduardo | February 1, 2008 4:06 PM

big ups to Kevin Barker (don't forget he was in Aden too) and let me be the first to go ahead and say "she is fuckin fugly as hell"

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 4:19 PM

Setlist from last night!
Emily / Monkey & Bear / Sawdust & Diamonds / Only Skin / Cosmia // Bridges and Balloons

The Book of Right-On / /Inflammatory Writ // Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie // Barbara (New song that they're trying out....) // Peach, Plum, Pear /// Untitled New Song (Said this new song is basically done!) //// Karen Dalton Cover "In the evening"

Posted by Jonny Greenwood is the man | February 1, 2008 5:05 PM

i walked to the concert with amy poehler.

and i could be wrong... but was seth rogen there, too?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 7:39 PM

i walked to the concert with some douchebag.

Posted by amy poehler | February 1, 2008 8:30 PM

"Setlist from last night!"

You left out "Colleen".

Posted by B | February 1, 2008 9:31 PM

...and she didn't do "Inflammatory Writ"

(unless I totally spaced)

Posted by B | February 1, 2008 9:35 PM

Were Daft Punk there?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 9:45 PM

"i walked to the concert with some douchebag.

Posted by amy poehler | February 1, 2008 8:30 PM"

Absolutely Priceless!!! Fucking hilarious and right on the money comment response. I am still laughing. Well Done. Did Anon 7:39 really think anyone would give a shit who they walked to a fucking show with?????

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 9:53 PM

yeah also saw john norris hah

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2008 11:00 PM

She did infact to Inflammatory Writ

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2008 9:39 AM

did any one see dr jean grey from xmen there at the 2nd show? she was superhero hot.

Posted by drLES | February 2, 2008 12:19 PM

"She did infact to Inflammatory Writ"

OK.

Set 1:
"Emily"
"Monkey & Bear"
"Sawdust & Diamonds"
"Only Skin"
"Cosmia"

Set 2:
"Bridges and Balloons"
"The Book of Right On"
"Inflammatory Writ"
"Colleen"
"Peach, Plum and Pear"
"Untitled New Song #1"
"Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie"
"Untitled New Song #2"
"Same Old Man"

Posted by B | February 2, 2008 2:17 PM

Untitled New Song #2 is not really untitled it is called Esame

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2008 4:34 PM

The audience was visibly moved and her humility made it a pretty intimate evening. That neon pink velvet dress was spectacular.

Review at link below.

Posted by Liz | February 2, 2008 6:04 PM

Joanna Awesome

Posted by Eduardo Osorio | February 2, 2008 6:27 PM

We went 2/1, and it was spectacular. She was quirky, but it was forgivable because she and the other musicians were powerful, beautiful, and gave us a great performance.
Dear starfuckers. Try going to BAM more often. It's a wonderful venue with wonderful performances and there are always plenty of celebrities to drool over. They even see modern dance and theater. Just keep it to yourself. No one cares how close you got to Amy Poehler except for you. You live in NYC. Get over it.
Dear political wusses: I feel sorry for you if you can't bear people people on stage talking politics in public days before a primary vote. Perhaps if you tried doing it once in a while, our leaders wouldn't be elected by (and our legislation wouldn't be written by) corporations. The world is a worse place when we separate our cultural and political worlds. They're both our reality.

Posted by David | February 3, 2008 1:19 AM

Gruesome Newsom

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2008 10:56 AM

I saw J. Edgar Hoover there...

Posted by rocked the shit | February 3, 2008 1:51 PM

i saw chandra levy there.

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2008 3:27 PM

Joanna Newsom: Vote 4 <3 Obama <3 !!!
Me: Whatever, hipster bitch.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2008 2:49 AM

The show was so great but the fucking asshole sitting next to me insisted on leaning over in my direction the whole fucking time. He and his girlfriend switched seats during intermission but during the whole Ys set all I could think about was how I'd been waiting all those months for the show and this douchebag had to fucking ruin it by practically sitting in my lap. The show was still incredible but my memory is tainted. My penchant for Joanna is now a full blown obsession.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2008 12:34 PM

gruesome newsom.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2008 12:08 PM

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