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Mirah & No Kids @ Highline Ballroom (CMJ), NYC- pics

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Kyle Dean Reinford

Mirah

Tara Jane O’Neil opened with her minimalist folk, backed by a drummer and a guitarist. The music, especially the last song with Mirah on bells and backups, explored pulses and rhythms with a droning guitar and extremely spare instrumentation.

No Kids took the stage, opening with “For Halloween” off of, what I’ll admit is one of my favorite records of the year, Come Into my House. Having different expectations for No Kids than most, I was pretty forgiving, just excited to hear the songs live, but even so, the stage-show was a bit underwhelming. The arrangements, fleshed out with vocal harmonies, precision tight drums, and ample low-end on their Elverum-produced record, sounded hallow and stilted live. Another vocalist accompanying singer Nick Krgovich (any maybe even some of the album’s acoustic-instrument flourishes) would have gone far. The songs where the two synths let loose and cut through the overbearing drums shined, and the band closed strongly with “Whatcha Doin'” off the Worried Noodles compilation CD. (Check out No Kids’ singles, including the new “Prisoner of Desire,” streaming at their Myspace, for how good they can be.)

(Note: No Kids return to the NYC-area for a post-CMJ Sunday show at Maxwell’s with Casiotone For The Painfully Alone & Katie Eastburn.)

Mirah‘s voice alone is enough to freeze even the most obnoxious concertgoer (like the girl behind me broadcasting her conversation over the previous set). Sound issues, like the incessant guitar hum from the stage lighting, were a mild annoyance early on, with Mirah stopping songs short a few times and making asides about the sound throughout. She played a set peppered with favorites, including a good portion of Advisory Committee, and new tunes (she mentioned recently finishing work on a new album). O’Neil joined on electric guitar for a few songs in the middle of the set. Some highlights: Mirah and No Kids’ Nick Krgovich duetting a capella on “Words Cannot Describe,” the last track on Mirah’s debut, “You Think It’s Like This but Really It’s Like This,” and Mirah’s set closers: “Cold Cold Water” and “Apples in the Trees.” She returned with all of the night’s performers for a foot-stomp and sleigh bells rendition of “The Garden.”

More pictures from Wednesday night’s show (10/22) below…

Tara Jane O’Neil…

Tara Jane O'Neil

Tara Jane O'Neil

Tara Jane O'Neil

Tara Jane O'Neil

No Kids…

No Kids

No Kids

No Kids

No Kids

No Kids

Mirah…

Mirah

Mirah

Mirah

Mirah

Mirah

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