Hope Sandoval: Live Last Night
By David Malitz
Siren-song chanteuse Hope Sandoval and her quartet the Warm Inventions were cloaked in near-darkness for Wednesday night's show at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, mere silhouettes on stage. With the band members offering no visual stimulation, the audience was instead treated to video collages projected on a screen behind them. Most of those images -- old movies, various bits of nature -- were presented in some sort of slow motion. And it sure was a fitting theme, as Sandoval and her mates played an hour of songs that were the aural equivalent of a most pleasant journey into quicksand.
(Side effects may include drowsiness, after the jump.)
The former singer for '90s dream-pop faves Mazzy Star hasn't strayed much from that band's sound and still has a voice like a vocal sedative. There were plenty of signs around the venue warning that cameras were not allowed. "Side effects may include drowsiness" may as well have been on there, too. More than a few girlfriends were spotted leaning on boyfriends' shoulders in the synagogue's padded pews as Sandoval cooed lines such as, "And how, love, does the wind blow? / While we sleep away our days?" In most instances, a sleepy, dazed audience would be a bad sign. With Sandoval, it just means she's doing her job well.
And she did that on Wednesday, if not in an especially engaging manner. But that's par for the course -- a mumbled "thank you" were her only words uttered and she often sang facing sideways, sometimes clinking on a xylophone or blowing into a harmonica. (At least she didn't storm off after three songs and insult the city.) The songs all moved at the same leisurely pace, more about textures and her seductive vocals. There were a few moments when a distorted lead guitar broke through the gauze. But even that was far more of an in utero nudge than a Georges St. Pierre kick.
When the band walked off stage, the crowd remained seated for a few minutes. Many were probably hoping for an encore; some were likely just regaining the ability to move.
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