Monday, May 28, 2007

Sis Team Chapel

Women rarely get to be warts and all. We tend to like them air-brushed, innocent, perfect or pretending to be. That's just one reason Friday night's concert at the Presidio Chapel (and let's ignore the irony of all the weight Catholicism has dumped on the feminine for a moment) was so refreshing. For all three artists--Angela Correa, Devon Sproule, and Victoria Williams--were brilliantly talented, but they also made lots of funny faces, stop-started performances, battled capos, acted goofy, sung sad but true.

Victoria Williams is so full of winning whimsy and warmth it almost doesn't matter she can sing such cool songs. She made it clear her stand-up bassist was new to the band, only knew a small selection of songs, then repeatedly played songs not part of his repertoire. (He followed along quite well, nonetheless.) Her voice is a slippery singsong that gives some folks fits if pretty is all they want in their singers, but if you like emotive playfulness, Vic is your woman. In a 50 minute set she managed to perform tunes from all her albums, all the way back to 1987's Happy Come Home, including "Happy" itself, a minute-long ditty about a woman everyone thinks is crazy because she's outside shouting "Happy!" all the time when it just turns out to be the name of her dog. That's Williams' worldview in a nutshell, one where it'd be insane not to be crazy, not to have a dog, not to shout happy every so often. We could shout it even more if she came to town more frequently.

Middle act Devon Sproule looks like a heroine from a Buster Keaton movie (think Our Hospitality), a wisp of a woman in a slip of a dress with short hair done up with flowers. Her songs, many of late from her period pitching musical woo to land her husband (fellow singer-songwriter Paul Curreri), tell tales so artfully you almost wonder if part of her pose is tongue-in-cheek, but she's probably just being who she is--a smart Southerner (Virginia), a bit wise, a bit wise-ass, as when she broke for a solo by saying, "Take it Sproule!" Indeed, she can pick, making fine lines out of her electric Gibson with a pick-up as old as her father, or so she said. Her music, folk-based but with a knowledge of jazz that keeps leading it from the country to some odder city bars or something, is lit by the joy of moonshine. Why yes, both kinds.

Opener Angela Correa has an angel's voice but a stage presence too self-deprecating by half. It didn't help that she had to go back stage before playing a tune to re-tune; she also admitted she hadn't played out for awhile so was rusty--you wanted to suggest she hire a guitarist and just handle the vocals herself. In general, though, it's best not to make faces when you screw up--it's amazing what you can get away with if you just plough through like all is well. (Rumor has it you can even avoid impeachment as president, but that's another kind of review, isn't it?)

Overall, it was an evening of warmth and women getting to be the multifarious things they are, no matter what we (yes, mostly us men) want. Credit goes to Brett Leigh Dicks for producing the evening, and here's hoping that the talk about Presidio Chapel concerts becoming a series isn't just talk.

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Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

Thanks for the review... for those of us who weren't there, wah.

10:32 AM  

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