Kimya Dawson – Auckland Girls Grammer Hall 24/6/08
I couldn’t tell you the last time I set foot in a school grounds let alone attended a concert at a school, lets say its been a while… however there was no way I was going to miss seeing Kimya Dawson, a anti folk singer I have listened to on and off for some years.
I’d like to say I’ve been a fan for years but that would be a lie – rather I was aware of her via the moldy peaches the band she formed with Adam Green and had pretty much not heard any of her solo work until I fell back into the world of Jeffrey Lewis thanks to his album covering Crass songs (hat tip to Websta for informing me of such).
It was with Lewis that I found that I had a strong attachment to what many call Anti-Folk and as Kimya and Jeff have colaborated it was only ever going to be a matter of time until she was discovered by me.
Getting back to the show, on a damn cold by Auckland standards night myself and my friend Greg savioued a couple of cold ones prior to decending the hill to enter school grounds – I can’t stress quite highly enough just how odd the school hall action was – and by hall I really mean very functional modern audiotoriam. On arrival we soon realised that there was no chance of liquid refreshments (damn) and on entry to the hall we ushered ourselves to a quiet spot up near the back. The place was packed, with predominantly school girls with a fair smattering of weirdo indie types. The place was dark and Kimya’s husband was performing (can’t remember his name), he was alright, highlight being a Hazel Atkins cover – a performer I hadn’t heard mentioned in many a year.
After a intermission Kimya took the stage, with a acoustic guitar and microphone, sitting down and plunging straight into her set – she started off with mainly older songs from her catalogue with cheerful and amusing banter inbetween songs, her banter and lyrical mastery had the crowd transfixed – the audience pretty much responded to her in a way cynical old gig goers can only find a little off putting. Thankfully my urge to yell and laugh at the wrong times was offset by a lack of alcohol.
As a performer she is very engaging considering the minimal amplification and instrumentation she adorns her songs with, as a lyricist like her peers in the anti folk scene she is masterful. All sorts of subject matter was quickly dealt with and I dear say many words sung have never been and never will be again heard in this hall.
As the night wore on she started to play songs off her upcoming childrens themed album and finally to play her better know songs from her last album Remember That I Love You, Loose Lips being her last for the evening. I am sure she also did her cover of Bad Brains “I”, which if I am right, was simply awesome.
If you know of her and watched any of her live clips on youtube you will have a pretty good idea of how she performs and sounds and as I’ve done many of those clips to death I came away at the end of it all very pleased with my musical experience and not a little weirded out by the location, which only serves to make the evening more memorable.
Kimya Dawson ain’t house, but she sure is House