Who went to this show last Friday, and what the heck is that on her head? More photos (and a show review) after the jump...
Hopefully it isn’t a cliché at this point to say that I wish The Mynabirds’ front woman Laura Burhenn would be my indie rock girlfriend. But even if it is, it doesn’t matter because she is the embodiment of all things cuddle-able: incredible soulful voice, excellent songwriter, passionate about making a difference, fashionable, confident-yet-modest, kind of goofy, and super duper cute. Of course, the biggest reason I want to date her is my inferiority to her, which was further proven during the band’s concert at Barboza on Friday.
Openers Deep Time (with a new record out on Seattle’s Hardly Art) couldn’t make it to Barboza in time because of a van breakdown. So, my preconceived notion when I saw last-minute add-on Prism Tats take the stage was, “Shit. Another solo singer-songwriter with nothing more to offer than his heartbreak.” But, I stood corrected.
While the Seattle artist did, in fact, sing about heartbreak (as well as introspection and things like that), his lack of band almost went unnoticed amongst his vocal modulation and kick drum-tambourine combo. In fact, Prism Tats ended up being a very fitting opener for The Mynabirds, given his very Saddle Creek tendencies. He also wore a lovely cowboy hat.
Burhenn also donned headgear in the form of a fox when The Mynabirds approached the stage. The band’s recently released sophomore LP GENERALS is easily one of my favorite records of 2012 so far. So with that and head-dwelling foxes in mind, I went into the set with high expectations.
In my experience, there are three types of live shows: · Bands do their best to completely replicate recordings. · Bands try too hard to abstract from their recordings. · Bands don’t have the resources they had during the recording process and make-do with what’s in the budget.
To this effect, the main draw of live music is the physical presence of the band, loud music you’re probably familiar with, adrenaline and drinking. But The Mynabirds was a rare exception.
Everything from their past two records was bigger; the harmonies were much more pronounced and gorgeous; dynamics, melodies and rhythms were far more discernible, and Burhenn’s vocals were spot-on and remained at the forefront. Everything was familiar but a new experience.
Band members hit colorful sticks together during self-described “dance songs” like “Body of Work” and “Disarm.” For “Generals,” Burhenn encouraged a well-received audience call-and-response involving “love” and “fucking shit up.” During some stage-banter, Burhenn mentioned the whole Chick-fil-A fiasco and assured us that the following song “Mightier Than the Sword” would be a “love song more about kissing than chicken,” which was very, very true.
After the concert, with my spirits high, I complimented Burhenn on her set, and she complimented me on my shoes. I’m now one step closer to that unattainable candlelit dinner.
Review and photos by Adam Barnett for The Stranger.