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liz phair 07.10.03 @ the ica

Category: Music
Date: 09 October 2003


when i heard that liz phair had once again released an album and was coming to london on her latest tour, i went out (okay, went to, but it's got free shipping! from hong kong!) and got the cd immediately. the cd starts out well, with huge heavy guitar, but then turns into a very radio-friendly pop song. i still enjoy her music - her lyrics have just the right amount of sardonic twist to the happy love themes; however, i still am a bigger fan of her low, understated, rockier voice from her older songs like "supernova" or "go west." the current liz phair gets dangerously dido-ish in a few instances, but manages to pull it off.

so, enter liz phair, centre stage. the ica is a good venue for concerts, just small enough so that you are always able to clearly distinguish the features on the faces of the performer, and big enough that you can still keep your distance from the over-enthusiastic people with lighters at the front. and in performance, her new pop sound carried over well. as for her, i was surprised that she didn't look more, well, female singer-songwriter-ish. she was ordinarily pretty, with blond hair she had to flip away from her face and wearing a girly white top - no pit hair or leather or beads. so there are realities that you don’t imagine when you have the stereo on while driving or painting or cooking, and i usually feel quite – no, not disillusioned – confronted by the actuality of the singer and get distracted trying to imagine the ordinary life behind the stage persona. liz phair seemed to be pretty much who she was, which differed from my previous assumptions, but once i got over myself, there was a lot to enjoy. she did a few of her signature raunchy songs and most her new album. she was affable and politely nervous and talked to herself a bit, and we liked her for it.

she’s a lot smarter than she first seems, and right now i’ve got “little digger” playing, a song about her son which is beautiful and telling, though again in a low-key way. maybe she’s mellowed with motherhood, and it does suit.

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