The House of Blues on Lansdowne Street has hosted acts such as Coheed and Cambria, 50 Cent, Grace Potterâ€¦you get the idea. Having opened in Boston in early 2009, it has attracted a plethora of talent and music lovers.
Last night that talent swayed its way onstage in the form of Zooey Deschanel, M. Ward, and a gifted band, performing a dreamy set after the Chapin Sisters warmed up the crowd.
Dreamy? I know you may be thinking this is a word reserved for self-proclaimed hunks, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and comfy sheets and blankets. But yes, the act was dreamy. The songs, while shifting between mellow and contemplative to playful and danceable, definitely conjure up a calm landscape. I couldn’t tell if I was more inclined to think of a warm summer’s day with the scent of fresh linen drying in the breeze, or a crisp autumn evening in an apple orchard. Did I say dreamy? Perhaps whimsical is a better fit.
The recordings of Ward and Deschanel please the ear (check out She and Him Volume One and the recently-released Volume Two), and yet critics have described their onstage performances as less-than-stellar. I can only imagine the reviewers were either harboring a predisposed dislike for this type of music or were, in fact, dead, in which case we can safely say that zombies are tone deaf and rhythmically challenged. The band was enthusiastic and the audience was beaming. While the House of Blues’ seating and standing arrangement produced some disgruntled fans who could barely see the stage, the performance itself was golden. Deschanel, standing onstage in stockings and a sparkling dress, grabbed the mic at one point to look into the audience of people wearing flowery dresses, hats, and poster board signs stating "Marry Me Zooey," to simply state "This is fun". Simple statements can sometimes sum it up quite well.
Belting out tunes such as "In the Sun," "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" and "Sentimental Heart," they also covered classics such as the 1962 hit "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me" by the Miracles. “Hold me Zooey!” one fan yelled out during a downbeat, to which she responded "Hold me Boston." Queue swooning.
The encore including "Fools Rush In" (Rick Nelson) and "Roll Over Beethoven" (Chuck Berry), which incurred delighted screams from the audience.
It was great to see a band incorporating its opening act into the set, as well as a wide range of musicians. The musical accents of the ukulele, a beautiful C&C drum set, a guitar vocalized by Ward, and spot on harmonies didn’t hurt either.
All in all, a band worth seeing. It is still astonishing that many are not aware of Zooey Deschanel’s musical talent, and any comparisons to Katy Perry are unfounded, other than perhaps a retro feel. Deschanel is a triple threat in that she can sing, act and dance, and do so humbly. M. Ward exuded talent without trying to step on Deschanel’s toes or hog the spotlight, and the entire band completed the sound.
For more She and Him tour information, check out their website.