photos and words by Caroline Harrison
MBD @ Bowery Ballroom, 1/23/2013
My Brightest Diamond played Bowery Ballroom on January 23 supported by local no wave revivalists Talk Normal. Shara Worden, the creative mind behind My Brightest Diamond, has a reputation for being an accomplished and energetic performer, frequently collaborating with other heavy hitters of indie rock. You may have heard her singing backup vocals on Sufjan Steven's Illinoise and the Age of Adz, or crooning the role of the evil queen in the Decemberists' Hazards of Love.
Worden's lush arrangements and complex songwriting betray her music school background. As impressive as the instrumentation is, the real selling point of My Brightest Diamond is Worden's unique voice. She mixes tonalities and techniques from jazz, folk, and opera, and she's pretty hard to pigeonhole into any one genre. She drifted gracefully through a polished, sometimes theatrical set. The only sour note of the evening was the addition of a Keyboard Cat-style drum machine under the powerful "Inside a Boy," the act's last number before the encore.
Openers Talk Normal are a slow burning, noisy two piece. They were an odd choice to pair with Worden's ethereal vibrato and multi-genre approach, but the contrast worked. Guitarist Sarah Register and drummer Andrya Ambro moaned and wailed and chanted their way through the set. They were earthy and hypnotic, at times reminiscent of the droning sounds of Liars or My Disco.
Bowery was the first of two NYC shows for Worden last week. On Friday (1/25) she also played the opening night of the Ecstatic Music Festival and we'll have pictures from that show soon. Meanwhile check out more pics (including one of the setlist) from Bowery below...
My Brightest Diamond