I saw Feist on campus the other night. First we all went to an MFA art opening. Two painters, one of whose work riffed on Sargent paintings of dancers, the other murky portraits of GI Joe toys. There was also a brief fashion show with a DJ. C&I were amused by the weird dresses including one made out of automobile seat cushioning, I think. Then I walked the 20 yards to the auditorium where Feist was playing. First opening was Hayden who I vaguely remember from the mid-1990s or so when I believe, in those days of giddy alt-rock hysteria, he was signed for a whole lot of money by a major label. I was sent a couple of his albums around then which I recall enjoying. [OK, checked Wikipedia, he was signed in 1995, dropped in 1998, has had a recent comeback.]

It’s tough to be the opening act in a big place like that filled with a lot of sorority girls, etc chatting, especially when half of your show is with acoustic guitar. He did pretty well though. I liked the weird song about how his apartment in Toronto got broken into while he was recording music (and so did not hear the window breaking).

Feist put on an excellent show filled with various visual tricks and artifices — she began as a silhouette behind a screen, and then for much of the show there was someone creating arty, pretty effects on a transparency projected on a big screen. A little bird; leaves moving around; beads and jewelry… Sometimes fairly corny (my daughters would’ve loved it), but it was nice to have something to look at. I thought Feist did a good job of creating warmth/intimacy in this fairly impersonal setting and she has a lot of great songs… I liked the Bee Gees cover a lot (more than I do on the album). She has going for her something you don’t always hear in more or less ‘indie’ rock, a really good voice that can do a lot.

At one point someone yelled out “you’re beautiful!” (I think) and she said “you’re sitting really far back, which is why you think that” — charmingly but oddly self-deprecating, I thought.

My two friends showed up after Hayden, which meant I was sitting alone amid all the undergrads for a while and one of them addressed me as “Sir” which makes me wince a bit in that context. I was remembering the time I went to see Sonic Youth at the Orpheum theater in Boston — this must’ve been a decade ago when I was in my late 20s –my friend and I never found one another so I was sitting next to some teenager. We made awkward smalltalk at one point and he opined that it was “nice to see that older people are into the band too” or something. This is Sonic Youth!!!! They must’ve had an average age of 49 at that point!!!? I guess my baldness had really kicked in…

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