Anyone who knows me knows about my love for Kristin Hersh. If it wasn’t for her music, I wouldn’t have met the man who ended up being my husband, so needless to say, the woman has my heart for life!
Last night, we were lucky enough to catch her opening for Grant Lee Phillips at the Crocodile. She’s not really on tour, and she’s not promoting any new album or anything, but now that she lives in Portland, the short three hour drive brought her back to Seattle (where she really should be living again, but I digress!).
I loved how she came out on stage carrying her acoustic guitar, with a tiny smile on her face, and she just sat down and started playing. No introduction, no words to the audience…heck, she didn’t even wait for the in-house music to stop playing overhead! She just sat down and began the fierce acoustic strum to “Hook in Her Head” and damned if I didn’t feel like I was 16-years-old all over again, with my Walkman and my The Real Ramona cassette, sitting in art class working on my projects. Just friggin’ amazing.
She followed it with “Your Dirty Answer”, and then “Gazebo Tree”, introducing that track with a funny anecdote about a strange woman she met on the bus who kind-of inspired the song. I love seeing Kristin perform solo, ’cause she really does tell the funniest stories. She followed with a song her Dad wrote (explaining, “My Dad did a lot of acid and you can tell by these lyrics…”) and then her own song “Clay Feet” from Sky Motel.
After that, she played “Spain” from Sunny Border Blue, following it with “Sundrops” which is quite possibly my favorite song to watch her play live. And I love how the audience knew the song well enough to not applaud during the fake-ending before she comes back with the powerhouse strumming and belting out of the title.
She performed what I think was an old hymnal-type song, describing it as “so old, I think God wrote it”. Next was “37 Hours”, and then for her amazing almost-finale, she brought Grant Lee out to accompany her on the classic “Your Ghost”…it was so, so, very amazing, I think my face hurt from smiling so much. Grant was trying to tune his guitar to Kristin’s, and he shook his head and said, “That’s right, you use that weird ‘Portland tuning'” — HA! Kristin retorted that she has to tune her guitar down because her voice is so deep. She added that when she calls to order pizza, the pizza guy always calls her “Sir” — HA again! Teasingly, Kristin asked, “What about when you call to order a pizza?” and Grant got all mock-indignant, insisting “I don’t order pizza.”
Their rendention of “Your Ghost” was so incredible that even though she intended it to be her encore, the audience wasn’t about to let her off that easily! I love it when opening acts get called back for encores. So, Kristin came back to the stage after minutes of roaring applause, and played “William’s Cut” jokingly warning, “This song has profanity…” (never mind that about 2 or 3 of her earlier songs did too!). And then Grant Lee came back out on stage, and they were both just beaming! Grant and Kristin joked about how their next song was in honor of their friend John Doe who they didn’t invite to join them tonight. Laughing, Kristin added, “Well, we did call him to say how much fun we were having without him…” HA! They closed with what I’m assuming was an X song, with Grant hamming it up on lead vocals and guitar, and Kristin sitting quietly beside him, looking up at him with the biggest smile on her face and then piping in with backing vocals during the chorus. It was so, so, ridiculously cute. The whole set was amazing. I overheard one guy turn to his friend and say, “Well, I’m sold!”
Sadly, we had to leave before Grant came out for his solo set, sans Kristin, but we’re sure he was every bit as charismatic and vibrant as he was on stage with her…so, um, have I mentioned how much I love Kristin Hersh already?