Jan 20, 2011

Owen Pallett @ Famous Spiegeltent

He's very charming. He's very talented. A supremely winning combination in anyone's book. Toronto's Owen Pallett took the stage in the Spiegeltent Thursday night in Sydney as part of the always popular Sydney Festival. The man who once performed as Final Fantasy is a fantastic live treat, a wonder to behold. I would even say that he is better live then on record and he is pretty good on record, btw.

He had a set list before him, but he seemed willing to change it up and take requests. Which he did. Opening with a track from his first album it wasn't long before he launched into material from his latest release in "Heartland". We had heard some of these tracks on his last visit two years ago, but now we were hearing them after we had the opportunity to digest the album. An early highlight was "Midnight Directives", which was followed by one of my absolute favourite Pallett numbers in "This Lamb Sells Condos". I think it's the line about 'massive genitals' that does something to me. No long after he played "A Man With No Ankles", which he stated should have appeared on "Heartland". I would have to agree with him as it is a great song. It did later turn up on the digital EP "A Swedish Love Story" however. Soon after he was asked if could he play a cover. He hesitated, jokingly saying that he started playing covers in 2004 and now it had become his 'thing' and he was a little tired of it all. Then straight away he launched into "This Modern Love", which in mind turned out to be the highlight of the night for me, its delightful melody accentuated by the delicate plucking of Mr Pallett. "The Great Elsewhere" would also prove to be a star of the night with its romping rhythms. The night finished on a high with a short but very sweet encore. "Oh Heartland, Up Yours!" is nearly sombre, but somehow uplifting. This preceded the raucous and irresistible "Many Lives", which pleased me no end. A great end to a great night. Owen Pallett is a spectacular talent. Armed with just a violin and keyboard, he manages to conjure all sorts of sounds from his instruments. Plucking, slapping and knocking are all involved, plus constant looping to create a cavalcade of sound. He is very precise too, enabling himself to create a wild eyed beauty out of a somewhat basic setup. He is also charming too with a deadpan wit. He did I think manage to perhaps offend redheads and Germans on the night however. All in good humour though.

Set List
Took You Two Years To Win My Heart
Flare Gun
Midnight Directives
This Lamb Sells Condos
This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine
A Man With No Ankles
Lewis Takes Action
Scandal At The Parkade
This Modern Love (Bloc Party cover)
That's When The Audience Died
The Great Elsewhere
Song Song Song
Lewis Takes Off His Shirt

Oh Heartland, Up Yours!
Many Lives > 49 MP

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