On Thursday, August 14, I once again ventured across the Hudson to see a great, sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St., NYC).
The show featured Agnes Obel, 34 year-old Danish singer, songwriter, and piano player who writes, records, and produces her own music. She’s an attractive blonde in an “Uma Thurman” kind of way. Her biggest fan base is in Denmark, Norway, and Germany, and today she resides in Berlin.
Agnes has sold almost half a million albums to date with her debut album Philharmonics, released in 2010, and Aventine, released in October, 2013.
When I heard her first album I liked most of it, and loved a song called “Close Watch.” I later found out it was a cover of a John Cale (from the Velvet Underground) song that Agnes does in her own very different, mesmerizing way.
We were originally supposed to see Agnes in March, but the show was cancelled, we thought due to inclement weather. The other night Agnes told the crowd the show was actually postponed because one of the band members was denied a visa. It made me realize how lucky we are to have such great music scene a train-ride away, while others have to be approved for a visa!
This was a very cool rock show that did NOT feature the standard guitar, bass, and drums lineup. Agnes sings and plays the piano beautifully, and was backed up by a woman playing cello and another woman playing violin. That’s it, and the sound was amazing.
It was also very interesting to have listened to her album and then to see how the band creates their distinctive music live. For example, the cello player would play a bass line, and then she foot-activated a recording device that would play that back in a loop. Wow!
The Bowery Ballroom was a great venue for this show due to its acoustics. The sound quality is really rich. The crowd was very appreciative and there were a lot of New York-based Europeans in the audience supporting their home girls. Amazing that even though I see a lot of shows at places throughout our area, I don’t often see the same people in the audience. So, come on Westchester, get out there and take advantage of our wide-ranging cultural opportunities -- and I hope to see you at the next venue!