Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Spektor is haunting Europe

I finally got to see Regina Spektor live last Friday after lots of failed/sold-out/clashing attempts. The wait was totally worth it. I hadn't really know what to expect - truth be told - I don't know her music so well, but I knew she'd be special. In preparation for her live set, the cluttered stage was transformed from a chaotic mess to an arena-like space in 30 minutes, with her beautiful grand piano right in the middle. She came on stage to screaming and the huddle of photographers followed her every motion. The screams died down and the only noises to be heard was her acapella rendition of Ain't No Cover and the clicking of DSLR cameras.

She spent most of the rest of the gig sat at the piano and was accompanied by a band for about 6 songs. I've never heard a big venue on a Friday night as quiet and respectful as they were for Regina. She had the whole room enchanted for her set's long duration. There were no lulls or fillers; every song, whether you knew it or not, was as laden with hooks, lovely and often funny lyrics, and her beautiful and idiosyncratic voice. You had no option but to listen intently. There is a certain darkness which looms under the sheer beauty of her songs, a hopelessness, a sense of being lost.

When I listen to Regina Spektor I like to think about her crazy life, her identity and how her exciting background (New York - Russian - Jewish - lived in the Bronx and Moscow) and how this marries with her incredible musical and song-writing skills to create such wonderful, personal, emotional and exotic music. I love her thick New Yoik pronounciation of every vowel and her totally un-Bronx demeanour. The last song of her five song encore was a country song called Hotel Room, where she finally got to stand up and dance and sing. Seeing her performing this completely different kind of song revealed a further side to her - a bit more American, brash, daring, loud.

There's no denying it. Regina Spektor is one of the most enigmatic musicians to come out of New York in a long time. Now she's finally getting the attention she deserves and it looks like she'll be around for the long term.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 2/20/2007 01:05:00 pm


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