The near-still crowd, almost holding its breath, was more hipster than coffee-shop intellectual, though the vibe in the room would say otherwise. If one was to replace the PBR cans with coffee cups and the ironic mustaches for goatees, it could haven been Greenwich Village circa 1968.
Marissa Nadler's best Emmylou impression whispered stories of lost loves, sun-soaked summers, and heartbreak. Her troubadour approach nods towards Townes Van Zandt (she even played a cover), Dylan and Karen Dalton complete with a quirky stage presence. The admittedly stage-shy Nadler struggled with a few false starts, technical difficulties and forgotten lyrics. So far into her career, it was a bit strange to see her so befuddled, but luckily the music made up for her lack of on-stage banter. And it wasn't stale in that singer/songwriter girl-and-guitar way either. Nadler had a three microphone set up, each with its own brand of reverb. She put phasers and delay on her acoustic. Fancy tricks sure, but it produced a simple sound distinctly different from the recordings. Nadler's wash of dripping reverb created a dream state in the room, leaving the audience entranced. Each song was more ethereal than the song before it, a constant deja vu.
Besides the effects, there was one distinct difference between this show and typical one woman/one guitar performance; the audience loved it. Nadler recognized the difference and thanked the audience for being so attentive. So many times before, she said, she has played for talkative crowds. It was as supportive as a record release should be.