On Feb. 23, Sharon Van Etten played Paradise Rock Club in support of her third and strongest LP yet, Tramp.
Despite her music’s poignant and melancholy lyrical content, Van Etten’s and her band were sunny and charming throughout the night, filling each song break with comical banter, generating rounds of laughter from the audience. Van Etten’s new favorite term — “jagoff” — was in heavy rotation as she called the audience, her bandmates and others “a bunch of jagoffs.” She and her band also told anecdotes of cheese curds and more as the audience laughed and squealed during each talk break as if they were “little gnomes.”
While the banter was captivating, the music was even more so. Taking heavily from her most recent LP, Van Etten played a stirring set. Her delicate voice shone in the dark Paradise and her background musicians filled her songs with life. Recent cuts such as “All I Can,” “Warsaw” and “Give Out” were beautifully handled and perfectly validated her recent sonic shift. “Don’t Do It” from her last album was another example of her irresistible electric guitar numbers.
The concert, however, peaked with “Serpents” — a lively Wye Oak-esque number that Van Etten remarked was so fun to play that she could do it again. Nobody would have minded. If she continues to write and play numbers such as “Serpents” in the future (and it sounds as if she’d love to), then there is no stopping her rise to stardom.
Sharon Van Etten is one of those rare singer-songwriters with liveliness and charm. Catch her next time she’s in town.
1) All I Can
3) Save Yourself
5) Magic Chords
6) Don’t Do It
7) Give Out
10) I’m Wrong
11) Joke or a Lie
12) Life of His Own
13) Love More
Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Tramp, was released on Feb. 7. For more details on Van Etten and a review on her new album, see here